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Introduction

Blue Economy is related to economic growth through the sustainable utilization of ocean resources with technological inputs to improve livelihoods. Economically important coastal and marine resources are the main components of the Blue Economy (United National, 2022). These resources are categorized into living, non-living, renewable resources and trade and commerce. As Africa is vulnerable to climate change, related extreme events are making the coastal and marine resources vulnerable which may hinder the smooth Blue Economy development. Thus, it is a prime need to build marine ecosystem’s resilience to climate change to get the maximum benefits from ocean. As Africa’s Blue World consist of vast lakes, rivers and extensive ocean resource base and 38 out of 54 African member states are coastal states, yet 90% of Africa’s imports and exports are conducted by sea (Joseph, 2016). Blue economy demonstrated that the oceans are more than just places for the extraction of free resources and the disposal of waste. It gathers together ocean values and services into economic modelling and decision-making processes. The blue economy paradigm constitutes a sustainable development framework for developing countries that will help to address issues such as equity in the access, development and sharing of benefits from marine resources, offering scope for reinvestment in human development and the alleviation of crippling national debt (John, 2016) According to World Bank (2017), Blue Economy refers to an integrated approach to dealing with environmental degradation and resource depletion that is based on the sustainable use of the oceans and coastal areas. The main guiding principles of the blue economy are sustainability and social justice, including intergenerational equity. Blue growth is based on principles that ensure the long-term use of the oceans. Resources should be harvested, grown, or traded in an efficient and sustainable manner. Economic benefits should be equitably distributed and socially beneficial; and the sector's carbon footprint should be reduced while the potential for marine ecosystems to act as carbon sinks is protected (World bank, 2017).

Why is blue economy important?

Globally, the blue economy's contributions vary by sector. For example, about 80% of the world’s international trade is transported by water, 50% of international tourists travel to coastal destinations, and approximately 30% of the world's oil and gas production comes from offshore (Semboja, August 2021). According to Ocean based activities contribute over 29% of Zanzibar's GDP and employ around 33% of its labour force (RGZ, 2020b). Blue Economy has the ability to use oceanic space as opportunities for development, new energy possibilities, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and increased food security. Furthermore, in the fight against climate change, we must offset our own emissions as well as those of our planet. The blue economy fosters long-term trade that connects all markets, large and small, and creates opportunities and benefits for all, from multinational corporations to small community businesses. It is about creating a sustainable tourism space. As a result, achieving sustainable management of this oceanic space will ensure the long-term viability of our planet.

In the area of Climate change mitigation, the blue economy has an increasingly important role to play even as we continue to lose forests on land. The shallow coastal water ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and sea grass beds are now seen as a critical part of our approach to managing essential natural carbon sinks. These key coastal habitats have been found to fix carbon at a much higher rate per unit area than land-based systems and be more effective at the long-term sequestration of carbon than terrestrial forest systems (Morgan, 2018).

In Climate change adaptation coastal habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves and coastal marshes provide significant protection from episodic events such as cyclones and hurricanes. It is important to note that Mangroves have been reduced by 30 to 50% of historical cover globally and 30% of sea grass beds are estimated to have been lost over the last 150 years (Beth et al, 2010). Through appropriate management, the presence of such ecosystems mitigates against coastal erosion, flooding from storms and increasing sea levels and wave actions.

Factor that hinders the development of blue economy

Climate change, overfishing, alien invasive species, environmental degradation, land use changes, and pollution are all major threats to the marine environment and challenges in developing a Blue Economy. There are numerous challenges that a country faces in implementing the blue economy including financial barriers, social justice, innovation and science

Financial barriers

Obtaining a Blue Economy necessitates a stable economy and long-term financial plans, which has proven to be a significant challenge. Financial barriers are a major impediment to the implementation of the Blue Economy and developing countries are usually the ones who pay the price. Because some countries have high levels of external debt, therefore, their focus will not be on transitioning the country's agricultural system to a more sustainable one (Benno and Stephen, 2021). Some countries find the transition difficult due to a lack of capacity and technology. Furthermore, the country requires a skilled workforce which necessitates field training.

Climate change

Climate change extreme events include warming trend, cyclone, sea level rise, droughts, erosion, saline water intrusion, flood, change in precipitation trend and ocean acidification. These extreme events may cause coral belching, species migration, biodiversity loss, altered species life style, disruption in marine food chain and ultimately will affect the national economy

Social justice

Land and resources frequently belong to communities and the interests of communities dependent on the ocean are frequently marginalized, because large sectors such as coastal tourism are seen as more profitable. This means that the Blue Economy must contribute to the achievement of SDG 14 while not undermining other goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Innovation and science

Because the Blue Economy is based on multiple fields of ocean science, it requires intersectoral experts and stakeholders (United National, 2021). NGO's, fisherman's organizations, indigenous people, and communities are all critical components of an inclusive economy. Science and innovation, on the other hand, are required to comprehend the environmental and socioeconomic aspects of a Blue Economy (World Bank, 2017). As a result, the foundation for developing a Blue Economy can be demanding and requires a large number of experts in various fields, which some countries may not have access to. Therefore, countries must rely not only on their own national experts but also on the expertise of other countries.

Conclusion and Recommendations

As a result, it is critical not only to minimize the degradation of blue resources but also to protect, regenerate and ensure that they can continue to fulfill their strategic environmental functions for future generations while still allowing existing and new economic activities that represent them. The government as well as the public and private sectors must all collaborate through the exchange of information, knowledge, best practices and successful strategies to close gaps and accelerate the global deployment of new technologies and innovations. This may be one of the most significant challenges of the blue economy. Also, achieving Goal 14 necessitates global action to protect the planet, as well as the deployment of international forces through institutional and legal frameworks. Above all, ensuring the implementation of strategies based on innovative financial mechanisms, risk management, conservation and planning.

REFERENCE

Benno J Ndulu, Stephen A O’Connell, 8 November 2021. Journal of African Economies , Volume 30, Issue Supplement_1, November 2021, Pages i33–i73, https://doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejab021

Beth A Polidoro, Kent E. Carpenter, Lorna Collins, 2010. The Loss of Species: Mangrove Extinction Risk and Geographic Areas of Global Concern

Doney, S. C (2010). The growing human footprint on coastal and open ocean biogeochemistry John Lesperance, March 2016. The blue economy: Concept and Orgin.

Joseph D. Intsiful, 2016. The Blue Economy: Opportunities for climate change adaptation and mitigation in SIDS

Joseph Semboja, August 2021. Realizing the Blue Economy in Zanzibar: Potentials, Opportunities and Challenges

Morgan Erickson-Davis on 2 May 2018. New study finds mangroves may store way more carbon than we thought RGZ. (2020b). Zanzibar Blue Economy Policy.

United National, 14/3/2022 “Blue Economy: oceans as the next great economic frontier”

United National, 2021. Promotion and Strengthening of Sustainable Ocean-based Economies World Bank. (2017). What is the Blue Economy? https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2017/06/06/blue-economy

World Bank, 2017 ‘THE POTENTIAL OF THE BLUE ECONOMY’ Increasing Long-term Benefits of the Sustainable Use of Marine Resources for Small Island Developing States and Coastal Least Developed Countries

 

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