South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Quebec, Canada, today and tomorrow for the G7 Leaders’ Summit Outreach under the theme “healthy, productive and resilient seas, coasts and communities”.
These ties in with the South African blue economy initiative Operation Phakisa which aims to stimulate economic growth and job creation by unlocking the oceans economy. To date the initiative has, in defence terms, seen approval given to build three patrol vessels to the SA Navy to enhance its capability as the government service responsible for protection of maritime assets, including minerals, gas and protein in the form of fish stocks.
Ahead of Ramaphosa’s departure to Canada the Presidency said: “There has been a realisation that South Africa’s long term development goals cannot be reliant solely on land-based resources. Development of the coastal space has been largely untapped and holds the potential to add an additional million jobs and contribute up to US$13,6bn (R177 billion) to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country”.
The six focus areas identified under the blue economy part of Operation Phakisa are marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, marine protected areas and ocean governance, aquaculture, marine and coastal tourism and small harbours and coastal property development.