African governments challenged to include youths in implementation of ocean policies

The Nigerian government and others in Africa have been challenged to engage and carry youths along in their plan for harnessing and development of the African seas and oceans to guarantee continuity and eliminate needless and costly generational gap.

Also governments and private sector operators were advised to cooperate for the optimization of the seas and oceans resources in Africa for the good of all Africans.

These were contained in a communiqué reached at the end of the virtual commemoration of the African Day of the Seas and Oceans 2020 recently organised by the Youngship Nigeria Forum in Lagos. Both Usamn Shuaibu, President and Emeghebo Chigozie, National Secretary of the Younship Nigeria Forum, signed the communiqué.

According to the Forum, the African Seas and Oceans being part of the African Marine Environment are home to diverse species of living organism including whales, fishes, planktons, corals etc. and provide one of the most important shipping trade routes in the world and the resources therein are critical to the development and socio-economic wellbeing of the African continent.

The youths called on the leaders in the continent to prioritise the preservation of the seas and oceans and the entire maritime environment for sustainable development and socio-economic well-being of Africans.

They maintained that pollution, piracy, terrorism, criminality are a great threat to the development and the maximization of the abundant opportunities presented by the seas and oceans nature endowed the continent and should be eschewed by all for common good.

‘’The African youths must be deliberately engaged and carried along in the harnessing and development of the African Seas and Oceans to guarantee continuity and eliminate needless and costly generational gap,’’ said the youths.

According to the youths, ‘’gas flaring, production and transportation spills, poor waste management systems, marine litters, indiscriminate ballast water discharges and the release of carbon monoxide from land and sea based sources are central to trapping heat in the atmosphere resulting in global warming and climate change.’’

In the area of investment, the youths noted that more investments are needed in cargo handling equipment and capacity building to enhance efficiency of the African ports, saying that there is need for governments to establish efficient transshipment points for robust transport systems especially to the landlocked nations in Africa.

While calling for automation/electronic documentation and timely cargo inspection, the Youngship advocated the use of railway services for cargo movement into and from the ports and is inevitable to reduce cargo dwell time and guarantee port efficiency.

‘’Efficient and smart land based transport infrastructure that links all cargo generating and attracting points to railway network as well as parks for high capacity cargo carrying vehicles is imperative,’’ said the youths.

The youth identified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement was as a good development which is capable of enhancing and optimizing African seas and oceans resources due to expected increase in intra-African trade.

‘’AfCFTA will result in a cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion, and would be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. The AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by 52.3% by eliminating import duties within the first four years of its implementation.

‘’Despite huge infrastructure deficit, institutional instability, regulatory and policy issues among other problems, there are huge prospects for the shippers and Africa’s maritime development with the launch of AfCFTA,’’ said the youths, noting that effective legislation, implementation, enforcement, monitoring and evaluation are tools for ensuring sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria and Africa.

The Youngship Forum Nigeria seized the opportunity to call on all Nigerian youths to continue to eschew violence and criminality especially maritime piracy, armed robbery at sea and similar vices and to join the Youngship movement in charting a better future and participation for the next generation of maritime professional in Nigeria, Africa and the globe.

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