President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has tasked Ghana’s maritime industry players to leverage the emerging blue economy to maximise the economic benefits therein to enhance the livelihoods of Ghanaians.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the Gulf of Guinea which spans about 13 countries in West and Central Africa is vital for Ghana and West Africa with an estimated regional GDP of US$550 billion annually.
Launching Ghana’s National Integrated Maritime Strategy (NIMS) in Accra yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said stakeholders must take advantage of technology to be ahead of criminals in that space.
“Equally important is the sea’s contribution to communication technology as it holds underwater interconnectivity communication fiber cables.
“You must find innovative solutions to strengthen further the innovative gains made by encouraging conducive environments for businesses to thrive. Technology has become a vital tool in our quest to a sustained and peaceful maritime domain.
“I must stress the need for multifaceted technological approach to deny the unauthorised under water surface and above water resources by criminals and economic saboteurs,” the President urged.
Jointly developed by the Ministries of Transport, National Security, Defence, Energy, Fisheries, Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Justice along with international and private sector partners, the NIMS is a forward-thinking strategy designed to foster collaboration, innovation, and address challenges facing Ghana’s maritime sector.
It is expected that the successful operationalisation of the NIMS and its detailed implementation plan would bolster collaboration between local stakeholders and international partners to achieve the aim of a safe and secure maritime domain with a thriving blue economy to enhance the livelihoods of Ghanaians.
The President noted that the ongoing international discourse on the exploitation of the blue ocean economy for sustainable development of countries, particularly, littoral states, further emphasised the need for countries to safeguard their territorial waters.
To this end, he said the government recognised the need for a well-resourced and technologically advanced navy and had invested heavily in that area, including committing to acquiring some off-shore patrol vessels, fast patrol boats, to augment equipment to improve its physical presence.
He said the heightened threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea underscored the need for littoral West African states to prioritise the security of their maritime domains with the Gulf of Guinea having emerged as the hotspot for piracy outpacing the Gulf of Aden in 2020 and 2021.
The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said the maritime industry must not be seen as a body of sea but a body of life changing enterprise that holds the potential to unlock the enormous economic potentials for the people.
The development of the NIMS, he said had gone through a series of consultations with key players and actors to ensure a coordinated approach to the promotion and enhancement of maritime safety.
National Security Minister, Albert Kan- Dapaah, admitted that though the quest to fully secure Ghanaian waters would not be without challenges, it was important for active collaboration and participation of all stakeholders to ensure a successful implementation of the NIMS.
Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, the Chief of Army Staff, said Ghana in the last two years had not recorded any significant maritime attack or kidnapping in its waters but petty thefts on ships at anchorages; a reason the strategy and the conference are crucial for a safe maritime industry for Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI
& JONATHAN DONKOR
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