Delta Eyes Blue Economy Development to Attract Investment
By Adedapo Adesanya
Delta State has said the development of a blue economy in Nigeria will attract huge investment to the state in the areas of seaports, tourism, rail and road development, airport, agriculture, oil and gas, housing, among others.
This is ahead of the Nigeria Blue Economy Stakeholders Conference in Lagos between January 25 and 27, 2022.
The event is organized by Alfe City Institution and will bring together the primary stakeholders of a prospective Nigerian Blue Economy, including the nine littoral states, the Ministries and agencies that would be involved in the management of the new sector.
Confirming the full participation of the state, Mr Olorogun Lucky Oghene-Omoru, Director General, Delta State Investments Development Agency (DIDA), said the full execution of the initiative will contribute to the state’s revenue generation.
“If the Blue Economy initiative is faithfully and successfully implemented in the nine littoral States, 11 River Basins and with a strong commitment by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the state governments, including MDAs which are considered to be the primary stakeholders to the blue economy initiative and the development partners, the country could substantially grow its GDP through investments in seaports, tourism, rail and road development, airport, agriculture,” he stated.
Mr Oghene-Omoru said all the 25 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Delta State will be impacted by the scheme and specifically asked that the state as a critical stakeholder in the proposed project should be included in the development of the initial conceptual framework and implementation processes.
Specifically, on tourism, he said, “Delta State is a tourism haven on account of its warm and highly hospitable people, spectacular sand beaches along the coastline, many cultural festivals, biodiversity of the ecosystem, historical monuments and sites among others.
“The state government’s policy on tourism is to create the enabling environment through the provision of infrastructure and encouragement of a private sector-driven tourism industry.”
He explained that the challenges of the Blue Economy are global and will require global solutions that can be adapted to national and local priorities.
“The majority of the governments around the world should participate in the discussion about innovative methods, technologies, and cutting-edge research to tackle sustainable Blue Economy opportunities,” he said.
On the potential of the blue economy in accelerating the economic growth of Nigeria, Mr Oghene-Omoru said “it involves building an ecosystem of industrial and mercantile business activities in order to comprehensively harness the abundant natural, aquatic and marine resources of the Atlantic Ocean, rivers, lakes, inland waterways and the River Basins, etc in Nigeria.
“Incidentally, these aquatic bodies are characterized by marshy, swampy and difficult terrain which are costly to develop and pose challenges regarding the provision of infrastructural facilities.
“However, concerted efforts must be made to mobilize investment capital in order to turn these areas into Nigeria’s industrial and business hubs and the grow the national GDP as was done in Cape Town in South Africa, Istanbul in Turkey, Singapore, Malaysia and many Australia and Chinese and USA cities to mention a few examples around the world.
“Every government should involve and engage all segments of the population, including women, youth, and other marginalized groups.
“Governments should invest in data, science and cutting-edge technology to support governance prioritization, reforms, and shaping management decisions.”
Delta State is among the nine Littoral States with a total of 850 kilometres of coastline out of which Delta State alone has 163 kilometres making the state have about 19.2 per cent of the country’s total coastline which is the longest. In addition, there are so many rivers that transverse the length and breadth of the state such as River Niger, Ethiope, Orogodo, Warri, Benin, Forcados and River Ramos, etc such that the State is easily a Blue Economy Hub.