Fishermen lift crates of fish from nets during the annual sardine haul, in Winklespruit, near Durban, South Africa, July 1, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

In Africa, the “blue economy” – the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources to improve people’s lives and jobs – is one of the most underutilized resources for promoting economic growth and development.

However, 64 percent of the world’s land area has freshwater and marine ecosystems, and 38 of the 55 African Union member states are located on the coast or on islands, according to the AU Commission.

On the other hand, some of these African countries that have access to fresh water such as rivers and lakes are about to face a life-threatening disaster caused by climate change such as famine.

For example, the International Rescue Committee said in a recent report that more than 14 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are on the verge of starvation, and almost half of them are children. It is also said that this number could rise to 20 million in the near future if the rains continue because many countries depend on agriculture.

The country has not yet used enough technology to match the blue economy and freshwater as a possible source of food and nutrition.

Aware of the problems caused by the failure to use African resources properly, the African Union Commission, at the recently concluded United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, organized a side meeting to bring together officials who manage national, regional and regional policies. Africa. The people discussed Africa’s needs in terms of economic development and the areas where they can take action and partnerships can help support what is happening at sea.

Amartya Sen, an Indian economist and philosopher, argued in his 1999 book Development as Freedom that development inherently promotes freedom. Therefore, as a development strategy, the blue economy has become an important part of Agenda 2063 of the African Union, which is Africa’s plan to transform the continent into a global power of the future.

Of course, freedom is coming to Africa, as many say, but the realization of this freedom is based on an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

As a continent, we have partners who are interested in walking with us to strengthen our technological capabilities and promote innovative technologies and integrated solutions to promote a sustainable economy in Africa. China has become a friend/friend and has become closer than a brother.

Since 2000, through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing has used its resources and expertise to transform Africa’s weak infrastructure into what many people now admire.

As a country of 1.4 billion people, China has managed to enter its blue economy to ensure food security for its people by providing “blue food” (harvesting seafood and marine life), promoting “blue tourism”, making a way. for new sources of renewable energy, and to provide reliable marine trade routes. This has resulted in the blue economy joining other sectors of the economy.

Regarding the development of institutional systems, the blue economy of economic growth in Africa is included at the continental level, for example, with Agenda 2063 of the African Union. Therefore, if used properly, the continent will be able to eliminate issues of illegal fishing and air pollution and ensure the protection of marine ecosystems.

In China, the government has provided policy guidance and support for the development of the blue economy, with central governments and municipalities supporting local projects. This is demonstrated by the establishment of the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone.

Africa can also benefit from the establishment of blue economic zones, knowing that the global market for marine biology, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, is expected to reach $5.9 billion by the end of the year.

Africa is at a crossroads. The financial crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the progress of the African Renaissance dream. However, the blue economy can improve food security, jobs and technology, and will play a major role in the transformation of Africa and provide clear solutions for the recovery process after the epidemic.

The author is the executive director of the China-Africa Center at the Africa Policy Institute in Kenya.

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