A South African delegation is currently in Mauritius attending a blue economy conference organised by the Indian Ocean Rima Association (IORA).
The two day gathering is the first IORA ministerial blue economy co-operation conference to be arranged by the Association and ties in with at least four of the objectives of South Africa’s blue economy initiative, part of government’s Operation Phakisa.
Fisheries and aquaculture, renewable ocean energy, seaports and shipping and seabed exploration and minerals are all under the spotlight during the two day conference.
The South Africa delegation is being led by Deputy International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) Minister Nomaindiya Mfeketo and is the first to be hosted by IORA since the 20 member strong Association prioritised the blue economy at its ministerial meeting held in Perth last year.
An IORA statement said: “The oceans account for around 75% of the world’s surface areas and constitute more than 95% of the biosphere providing a substantial portion of the global population with food and livelihoods and are main means of transport for 80% of global trade”.
The Mauritius conference brings together IORA member states and dialogue partners to promote the blue economy in the Indian Ocean region.
“The blue economy offers a model of development that is ocean-based rather than solely land based and better suited to the challenges and opportunities of Indian Ocean Rim economies.
“It highlights the role biodiversity, including marine life and ecosystems, plays in supporting marine economic activity and enhancing food security.
“In this context, at a domestic level, South Africa has its own strategy, which was launched by President Jacob Zuma in October 2014, for the ocean economy, as encapsulated in Operation Phakisa, spanning the priorities of marine manufacturing and marine transport, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as marine protection and governance.
South Africa in the Indian Ocean Rim Association aims to optimise this convergence of domestic priorities and IORA priorities, as an area of high value potential,” DIRCO’s Clayson Monyela said.