Captain Ebenezer Gakpey, Monitoring Manager, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority
Captain Ebenezer Gakpey, Monitoring Manager, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority

Collaboration needed for growth of blue economy — RMU

The Regional Maritime University (RMU) is calling for strong collaborative efforts from all stakeholders including government and industry players to help achieve a greater economic growth in the blue economic industry.

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Blue economy is a term that refers to the sustainable use of coastal and marine natural resources for economic growth and improved livelihoods and jobs.

It is linked to the exploitation and conservation of the maritime environment, while maintaining the integrity and health of the coastal and marine ecosystems.

The Student Representative Council (SRC) President for the RMU, Alex Kojo Abayateye, said the blue economy not only sought to promote economic growth but also to preserve the health and cleanliness of the ocean.

“If we all join hands to support this blue economy initiative, we can and will, by all possible means available, increase the growth of the economy and fight against environmental degradation regarding the oceans.

“The ocean has more to give us than we are benefiting from now.

Let’s keep the ocean healthy and be safe, let's invest in the ocean and be rich,” he said.

Mr Abayateye made the call at the Blue Economy Conference organised by RMU-SRC in Accra last Friday on the theme:

“Employment in the Blue Economic Industry, A catalyst for economic growth, the role of stakeholders, government and the university.”

The conference brought together experts in the maritime industry, policy makers and academia to chart a roadmap to battle the grave unemployment issue in the country and Africa at large, while harnessing the potential of the blue economy and sustaining ocean health.

He explained that right after Ghana’s independence, the blackstar line and the Regional Maritime University (Blue Economy) were one of the very first institutions established by the then government of Ghana.

The leaders, he said, then envisioned a roadmap to economic recovery after colonialism was to use the ocean (Blue economy) to aid our trade and boost the economy.

“We all know that our industry, the maritime industry, is one of the leading sources of income for our country and we need to protect our environment as we work,” he added.

Employment

The maritime industry remains one of the most specialised industries in the world such that the global economy today depends on the port as a prime facilitator with more than 90 per cent of world trade carried out by the international shipping industry.

It is the only cost-effective way to transport raw materials, finished goods, fuel and foodstuffs over great distances.

In some countries, this industry forms the foundation of those countries’ economic growth and development.

The global maritime industry has been growing at an impressive rate.

The maritime industry is a leading source of employment in many countries, especially those with many ports and a lengthy coastline.

University-industry collaboration

The Monitoring Manager at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Captain Ebenezer Gakpey, explained that the maritime industry had seen a lot of development in recent years.

He said the Takoradi port had also seen some developments, notable amongst them being the liquid bulk terminal, a dry bulk terminal equipped with modern ship loaders and eco hoppers, and the construction of a 16 meter Container multipurpose terminal which is currently underway.

These developments, he said, were providing substantial economic benefits for Ghana by enhancing trade opportunities, increased revenues for the state through taxes, levies, and fees, creating direct and indirect jobs (during construction and operation) and positioning the ports as the leading trade and logistics hub in the sub region.

However, he said these developments in the maritime industry cannot function on their own without proper collaboration with the academic institutions and vice versa.

“University-industry collaboration holds great prospective for fostering innovation, bridging the gap between academia and industry, and preparing students for real-world experience. 

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