Exploring Pathways to a Vibrant Ocean Economy for Africa

For developing countries like those within the West African sub-region, the Ocean holds the key to sustainable economic growth and development.  A vibrant ocean economy should therefore lie at the heart of national and regional agenda.  One of the most crucial first steps to attaining this is by directly investing in building the capacity of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs), primed not only to generate much needed dialogue on the ocean economy, but also to advance innovative approaches to developing a sustainable and equitable ocean economy.

In line with this ultimate objective, the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) designed a nine-day capacity building programme, intended to address Challenge 4 of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science (UN Ocean Decade): develop a sustainable and equitable ocean economy.  The online course was delivered from 14th to 24th March, 2022,  via Zoom. 

The participants (22 male and 11 female, selected out of 63 male, 17 female), were from a range of mainland African countries and adjacent Islands, including: Cape Verde, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mali, Cote d’ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Mauritius.

Screenshot of participants

Over a series of nine online sessions, the participants developed an understanding of the ocean economy, as well as its prospects and challenges, and were given insight into topical ocean sustainability concerns. They undertook an exploration of the peculiarities presented by Africa’s ocean economy and were also introduced to viable tools for enhancing sustainability and equity of Africa’s ocean space.

This programme served to directly enhance the capacity of (African) ECOPs in addressing Africa’s blue economy challenges. It also brought together a geographically diverse group of ECOPs across the African continent and sparked the creation of a network of individuals who are actively engaged in useful dialogue regarding the prospects and challenges of Africa’s ocean economy.

The training was extremely well received, and shows how valuable it is to engage the next generation in trans-disciplinary/cross-practice topics such as ocean governance and maritime security, as there are multiple career and policy pathways that could open up to ECOPs in Africa with this background training. The delivery of the training online was also an important step forward in the development of e-learning content released on GoGMI’s platforms.

The materials for this training series have been added to the ECOP Programme Youtube channel and can be accessed here.

Example of presentation

The information on this page comes from the Training Report delivered by the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI).

Thanks go to IOC-UNESCO and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) for their generous funding to support this capacity development training.