President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has urged African leaders to prioritise the Blue Economy to boost job creation and take Africans out of the woods.
Speaking at the 43rd Annual Council of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) conference in Lagos, the President, who was represented by the Minister of Marine and Blue economy, Adegboyega Oyetola underlined the critical role of the Blue Economy and port development in the collective prosperity of African nations, emphasising that the sector holds immense potential for the West and Central Africa when the ports are fully automated.
The conference was tagged “The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”
Addressing delegates from 24 African countries at the venue, the President added that Africa’s Blue Economy presents the continent with untapped opportunities for job creation, poverty eradication, growth and development.
Tinubu also urged African leaders to creat the Ministry of Blue Economy in their various countries and tap the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost the economy of the region.
Also, Tinubu said his administration has come up with programmes such as National Agriculture Growth Scheme-Agro-pocket where millions of farmers are supported through training on Good Agricultural Practices, certified inputs such as improved seeds, organic, inorganic fertilisers and irrigation equipments at highly subsidised prices to enhance food and boost farmers’ income.
The President stated this in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the sixth Africa-Wide Agricultural Extension Week.
He pointed out that, despite national boundaries, the waters serve as a natural source of connectivity, emphasising that the region’s shared destiny and challenges require collaborative efforts to resolve.
The President also underlined the significance of technological advancement in the sector.
He emphasized that automation is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of ports in the global maritime industry. He highlighted the importance of the Port Community System, which serves as a precursor to the implementation of the National Single Window, as essential tools in streamlining port operations.
He noted that the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are substantial, while urging African leaders to work together to eliminate trade barriers and harness these opportunities for the collective prosperity of respective national economies.
His words: “It is with great pleasure and honour that I welcome all the delegates to this historic meeting. We in Nigeria are proud and excited to be members of the Port Management Association of West & Central Africa and the opportunity to host this 43rd Council meeting at a time which coincides with our renewed resolve to transform our maritime potentials to actualities is heartwarming.”
The theme of the conference, Tinubu said, was most appropriate “at this period the continent is eager and determined to reposition the ports for competitiveness.”
He praised the PMAWCA for its role in promoting ports’ cooperation and expressed the Nigerian Ports Authority’s commitment to partnership and support for policies and action steps that will be discussed during the conference.
The President said further that he believed strongly that the cream of industry experts that were assembled by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to do justice to the critical subject would “provide the needed insight through knowledge sharing for us policy makers in the maritime sector to work assiduously towards the realisation of our ports potential.