1. Why Blue Economy in Africa? What potentials does Africa have?
The blue economy in Africa is neglected, ignored or underexploited, but it can offer a range of African solutions to African economic problems. More than one-quarter of Africa’s population lives within 100km of the coast and derive their livelihoods there. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2020, the annual economic value of energy activities related to maritime affairs will reach EUR 2.5bn.1
Out of the 54 African countries, 34 are coastal countries and over 90% of African exports and imports are transported by sea. The territorial waters under African jurisdiction cover a surface area of 13 million km², with a continental shelf of some 6.5 million km² comprising exclusive economic zones (EEZ). The continent covers 17% of the world’s surface water resources. The strategic dimension of the blue economy is an indisputable reality for African countries. It is for this reason that it has been included in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and that a practical handbook on the blue economy was prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in March 2016.