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Blue economy development vital to marine, tourism promotion — Lai Mohammed

Development of the blue economy is vital for promotion of marine and tourism sectors, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has stated.

The Minister said this on Wednesday in Lagos, during the Nigeria Blue Economy Stakeholders Conference themed: “Creating the Pathway for Sustainable Nigerian Economy.”

Represented by the Director, Domestic and Eco-Tourism Department, Federal Ministry of Information & Culture, Mrs. Patricia Narai, the Minister warned that over-exploitation of the ocean jeopardizes its ability to provide food, economic benefits and environmental services to society.

He noted that if marine tourism is properly harnessed, it would provide employment opportunities, improve local community capacity as well as develop local supply chain and promote local cultural heritage.

According to the minister, marine tourism would also support the conservation of coastal biodiversity, reduce negative impact of climate change and improve marine tourism value chain in Nigeria.

He argued that the sector should be developed through communal efforts and partnerships with relevant stakeholders and non-governmental organizations.

“According to World Bank, Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem. The European Commission on the other hand, defines it as “all economic activities related to ocean, seas and coasts.

“Blue Economy is a recent field of study that encompasses economic activities that depends on the sea, often associated with other economic activities, including Tourism, Maritime Transport, Energy and Fishing.

“Blue economy growth must support sustainable use of these resources, which are the engine for innovation and advancement of global economy with enormous potentials. It is, therefore, an evolving maritime concept aimed at sustainable management of ocean resources for economic benefits, community well-being and national development,” he said.

The Information Minister stated that three countries – Ireland, South Africa and Seychelles – have provided exemplary models for establishing and operating Blue Economy in 2012, 2014 and 2015, respectively.

He said that situated in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria has an extensive maritime space endowed with massive economic potentials for the development of the country when properly harnessed.

The minister also share facts that coastal tourism was one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism Industry which represents 5 per cent of World GDP and contributes  6-7 per cent global employment,

He added that Cruise Tourism alone contributed an average annual passenger growth rate of 7.5 per cent.

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