First IORA Ministerial Blue Economy Conference in Mauritius
The First Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Ministerial Blue Economy Conference was officially inaugurated by the Right Honourable Sir Anerood Jugnauth, GCSK, KCMG, QC, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius at Le Meridien, Pointe aux Piments, this morning.
In his address, the Head of Government reaffirmed his “vision to develop the ocean assets of Mauritius into one of the innovative pillars of our economy.” According to him, the Ocean Economy is “a pillar that would unlock investments of approximately USD 600 million, and create 25, 000 jobs.”
The island has a vast maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometres which represents nearly 1% of the world’s oceans. The Prime Minister enumerated the measures that he initiated to tap the extensive opportunities of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mauritius namely: the creation of a Ministry dedicated to the Ocean Economy; the institution of a National Ocean Council to drive the strategy for this sector and to ensure a timely implementation of development projects, an investment of USD 250 to revamp and double the size of the port; the development of a new fishing port with a shoreline of 1.5 Km; the setting up of a Continental Shelf Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration Department in his office to develop the offshore hydrocarbon and minerals sector of Mauritius and the setting-up of a High Powered Committee and a Joint Public-Private Sector Steering Committee under his Chairmanship to closely monitor project facilitation and implementation.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth assured that Mauritius will develop its Ocean Economy by taking into consideration sound ocean governance principles. He called for member states of the IORA to share their knowledge, expertise and resources in the fields of Seaport and Shipping, Offshore Hydrocarbon and Minerals, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Marine Renewable Energies.
The Mauritian Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Honourable Premdut Koonjoo, stressed that the blue economy “is undoubtedly a priority for our societies as we are grappling with various challenges on the sustainability of our economic development agenda.” For the Minister, to foster Blue growth, this conference is focusing on specific areas where, it is believed, there are opportunities to seize in the short and medium terms. “I am confident that this regional block would foster collaboration and cooperation in the promotion of the ocean economy, taking into account the special needs of developing countries to bring convergence in this promising sector. Win-win solutions are achievable,” he said.
Representatives of the 18 member states of the IORA and 6 dialogue partners were present during the inaugural ceremony. Were also present, Honourable Etienne Sinatamboo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius, Honourable Steven Ciobo MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment, Australia, Honourable Arif Havas Oegroseno, Deputy Minister for Maritime Sovereignty at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, Indonesia and the Secretary General of IORA Ambassador K.V Bhagirath.