Review of Nine African ‘Blue Economy’ Projects Shows What Works and What Doesn’t

Africa has 38 coastal countries and six islands whose maritime industry is estimated to be worth US$1 trillion per year. This figure will increase as they develop their offshore hydrocarbon, energy, tourism, maritime transport, shipping and fishing sectors.

These industries are collectively called the “blue economy”. They are recognised as central to Africa’s sustainable development. They can also play a key role in achieving the continent’s Agenda 2063. This includes achieving integration, prosperity and peace.

But for this to happen, it’s important that the benefits are equally distributed. And resources must be used in a way that’s ecologically sustainable.

My colleagues and I reviewed nine case studies of blue economy projects across the continent. These included the Kribi Port project in Cameroon and the Lamu Port project in Kenya.

We were able to extract findings from both successful and unsuccessful projects.

Findings from unsuccessful projects showed that governments had the right intentions. But the emphasis was on economic outcomes. Social equity and ecological sustainability got limited attention. Read more

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