Professor Michael Ekow Manuel (right), the Academic Dean at the World Maritime University, being assisted by Dr Thomas Roslyng Olesen, the Head of Maritime Research Alliance, to launch the Africa Blue Economy
Professor Michael Ekow Manuel (right), the Academic Dean at the World Maritime University, being assisted by Dr Thomas Roslyng Olesen, the Head of Maritime Research Alliance, to launch the Africa Blue Economy

Embrace Blue Economy for better future — Prof. Manuel

Countries in Africa’s coastal regions have been urged to embrace the Blue Economy to realise the benefits they stand to gain in the future.


The Academic Dean at the World Maritime University, Professor Michael Ekow Manuel, who made the call at the launch of the Africa Blue Economy Network in Tema last Friday, said the blue economy had great potential to contribute to higher and faster economic growth across Africa.

Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean’s eco-system. The Africa Blue Economy Network is an initiative that seeks to promote research, learning and practical application of blue economy principles through multidisciplinary collaboration.

The overall objective for the establishment of the Africa Blue Economy Network was to promote collaboration between academia and the maritime industry. 


Drawing on data collected through extensive fieldwork, surveys and qualitative interviews, the network aims to inform policymaking and raise public awareness of the importance of preserving marine ecosystems.

Prof. Manuel indicated that Africa’s blue economy, including broadly the preservation of the continent’s oceans and the responsible and sustainable use of its resources through the fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, tourism, renewable energy and biotechnology industries, was an untapped treasure trove. 


He said the continent’s coastline stretching over 30,000 kilometres offered unparalleled potential for growth and prosperity, adding “even with the limited activities that currently characterise Africa’s blue economy, coastal and marine ecosystems alone contribute tens of billions of US dollars annually to the continent’s economy.”


A Co-Principal Investigator on Port Effective and Public-Private Cooperation for Competitiveness (PEPP) and Team Lead of researchers in Ghana, Dr George Acheampong, said the network was an initiative to promote research, learning and practice of the blue economy in Africa by creating a platform for academics, industry practitioners and the government to engage on critical sectorial issues from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The PEPP is a Danish-Ghanaian group of researchers from the Aarhus University, the University of Ghana and the Regional Maritime University of West Africa that works to enhance the competitiveness of the ports in Ghana by providing new knowledge about how port clusters, gender imbalances, communication and sustainability intertwine.

Dr Acheampong said the objective of the Network, among others, was to drive the economic development of Africa to the maritime sector by incorporating more people into the blue economy to drive the continent’s economies.

Panel discussion

During a panel discussion, experts, including Dr George VanDyck, a Lecturer in Business Strategy and Operations at the Plymouth University; Dr Vera Fiador, an Associate Professor and Researcher in the Department of Finance of the University of Ghana Business School, and Dr Martin Arvad Nicolaisen, an Anthropologist at the Department of Global Studies, Aarhus University, highlighted the pressing issue of marine pollution and shared research findings on strategies to combat it.

Dr Fiador underscored the need for port operators to address gender equality to contribute to the sustainability of the sector.


An Associate Professor and Head of Department at the School of Culture and Society, Arhus University, Annette Skovsted Hansen, emphasised the gains Ghana would make through the promotion of sustainable development and enhancing the maritime sector in Africa's economy through the establishment of the Network.

The Dean of the University of Ghana Business School, Prof. Justice N. Bawole, affirmed that the maritime space held enormous potential to develop economies on the continent hence, it was important to harness those potentials for sustainable development.

He welcomed the conversation by researchers and academia around the maritime space and the move to build capacity for the efficient utilisation of resources and to harness the opportunities in the diverse blue economy.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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