Nurturing Ocean Stewards: WAMSS ECOP Africa Side Event and the Dynamic Panel Showcase the Power of Emerging Ocean Leaders.

The ECOP Africa Side Event at this year’s inaugural West African Marine Science Symposium (WAMSS) in Ghana unfolded an engaging gathering, centered around a dynamic discussion on the opportunities spanning the vast ocean science field in Africa. The event showcased a panel of experts, each representing a distinct facet of ocean science and marine environment conservation. The event began with an insightful presentation by Germain Bebe from “Black in Marine Science”, an NGO advocating for diversity and inclusion in the marine sciences. This perspective illuminated how embracing different voices can unlock innovative pathways and solutions within the field.


A marine scientist and skilled storyteller, Nancy Iraba captivated the audience with narratives of her experiences. Beyond research, she shared her journey of co-founding a seaweed business with friends in Tanzania. Her story highlighted the multifaceted nature of marine science and how entrepreneurial thinking can transform passions into sustainable ventures.

Professor Kwasi Appeaning Addo, the Director at the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies and a Physical Oceanography professor at the University of Ghana, heightened the scientific discourse, delving into the intricate dynamics of coastal processes. He underscored the importance of understanding ocean processes and the need to harness this knowledge for positive change. He emphasized that he believed the young marine scientists are the real advocates for change and encouraged them to not give up and in his words “the sky is the limit”.

The panel also included Mr Lawrence Dogli, Programs Manager at the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute, Mr Forbi Nyosai, Africa Coordinator at Sustainable Seas Alliance, and Dr Nfamara K. Dampha, a Research Scientist in Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services at the University of Minnesota. Dr Nfamara spoke about natural capital accounting; ecosystem assessment, and valuation using the InVEST Modeling approach and emphasized the importance of models and scenario analysis to address climate change impacts. Mr. Lawrence Dogli explained how ECOPs can leverage many opportunities in marine science, maritime transportation, and the blue economy sectors. 

Three ECOPs; Lord Offei-Darko, Curtis A. Akapini, and Peter Busumprah presented posters on Indigenous Knowledge,  Ocean Internet of Things (IoT) and Aquaculture, respectively. Lord Offei Darko shared his views on integrating indigenous knowledge into marine conservation efforts and Mr Curtis explained how  IoT-based technologies provide opportunities for the general monitoring and sensing of the physical, chemical, and biological ocean.

The event transcended disciplinary boundaries, captivating the audience.

It was also a pleasure to have National Geographic Society Senior Manager of Youth Initiatives, Dayne Weber, and Dr Fiedler Björn, Scientific Coordinator for the Ocean Science Centre, Mindelo. Dr. Fiedler explained training opportunities in ocean science, the importance of the WASCAL program to ECOPs in West Africa, and its contribution to the Ocean Decade. Dayne and Fiedler emphasized that scientific understanding can drive impactful initiatives to address local, regional, and global challenges.

The event concluded with Dr. Anthony giving a brief presentation on thought-provoking questions to our panelists to share their takes on the way forward for ECOPs in the Ocean Decade. Participants were enriched by the diverse perspectives shared. From advocating for inclusivity to entrepreneurship, exploring innovative business avenues, deciphering ocean currents, to addressing climate challenges, the panelists illuminated the remarkable range of opportunities in the ocean sciences. The gathering left a lasting impression, fostering a collective commitment to preserving our oceans and harnessing their potential for the betterment of all. 

Afterwards, it was time to take photos. Above: Panelists and moderators of the event.

Above: The entire team of panelists and ECOPs in attendance at the event.


Above: Gabriella chats with Dayne Weber and Fiedler Björn after meeting


  1. Gabriella
  2. Blessing Charuka

Supporting Editor:

  • Curtis Akapini Apegwine

We are grateful to the following organizations:

The University of Ghana, National Geographic Society, Black in Marine Science (BIMS), Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute,