With over 70% of the planet’s surface covered by water, it seems almost impossible to ignore the critical impact of marine ecosystems to human activities across the globe. The Earth’s seas and other freshwater sources sustain the livelihoods of millions of people, providing a glimmer of hope to several under-privileged communities. While the expanse of the oceans can hardly be ignored, African countries have systematically failed to harness its economic benefits in the advancement of sustainable developmental agendas. Known as the Blue Economy, the economic potential of the aquatic and marine spaces are eminent in a wide range of productive sectors: transport, fisheries, tourism, deep-sea mining, etc.
A national approach to the Blue Economy is integral for States, particularly since coastal communities are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of marine-related problems such as pollution and climate change, and are heavily dependent on coastal resources and global trade.
While it is easy to appreciate tangible land estates because they form our immediate habitat, a true understanding of the value of land should create a deeper awareness of the geostrategic essence of our oceans. At CEMLAWS Africa, we are committed to preserving and enhancing the value of Africa’s maritime estate.
But why should our oceans matter to you?
Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet. Constituting over 70% of the planet’s surface and holding close to 97% of Earth’s water, oceans are integral to providing the water needed to support human life.
The potential positives of a sturdy Blue Economy provides benefits that transcend each sector of any country’s socio-economic environment, strategically advancing national economies into industrialised, inclusive and resilient structures.
Oceans provide crucial ecosystems services necessary to sustain the Earth’s biodiversity. Without the oceans, we would be missing five phyla of animals on our planet! Preserving the oceans means preserving life.
The pharmaceutical industry has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of new resources of high economic importance, discovered in the expanse of the ocean. The disparate ecosystems of the high seas have led to breakthroughs in the treatment of several human diseases…and there are still more mysteries to be discovered in the high seas.
Oceans provide the primary means of international trade. States rely on shipping for the importation of industrial inputs and basic consumption goods including health needs. An astonishing 90% of global trade is transported by sea.
The ocean provides a vast array of valuable natural resources, including tons of our protein in-take (and this is much more than just seafood!). In Africa, for instance, the contribution of fish to dietary protein requirements in Africa is at an average 50% and as high as 80% for some States.