The African Export Import Bank has said that its intervention in the maritime sector in the last three years is more than $500 million, including facilities for the Onne Port expansion in the Onne FTZ, Nigeria, Gabon, Cote D’ivoire, vessel finance as well as security patrol of offshore platforms.
The President of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah made this known while delivering a paper titled ‘Awakening the blue giant: catalyzing the growth of Nigeria’s maritime economy through public relations” at the 19th NECCI PR roundtable held in Lagos recently.
Oramah said Afreximbank had continued to push the limits in Africa to promote intra and extra African trade.
Speaking on the importance of a blue economy, the president of Afreximbank said, “The blue economy, also referred to as the ocean or maritime economy, is a concept which leverages the strength of the maritime ecosystem including fishing; shipping and maritime transport; coastal tourism; marine energy (fossil and renewable); pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, genetic resources and general sea-based products for economic growth and development.”
According to him, “Africa’s seas and oceans represent major assets with the potential to accelerate the development of African economies. Indeed, according to the African Union (AU),” he said, adding that, “90 per cent of Africa’s imports and exports are conducted through the sea. The African Union has recognised the importance of the BE and has included it in its Agenda 2063, which is a blueprint for development of the continent for the next few decades.”
Speaking on why the country must take the maritime sector serious, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said despite series of effort channel towards diversification of Nigeria’s economy the results are yet to be visible as oil still contributed over 70 percent of foreign exchange.
“For a very long time, there is a perception that the most profitable sector in the country is oil and gas sector but evidence have shown that it’s not sustainable to depend on mono economy so there has been agenda to diversify economy.”