The governments of the United Kingdom and the United States have reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate with the Nigerian government in advancing the newly established Marine and Blue Economy Ministry, aiming to bolster economic growth in West Africa.
In separate meetings held on Tuesday, representatives from the UK and US governments conveyed their eagerness to support Nigeria’s efforts in harnessing the potential of its marine and blue economy sector. The discussions took place at the office of Nigeria’s Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, in Abuja.
The US delegation, led by Ambassador Jessye Lapenn, Senior Coordinator for Atlantic Cooperation, expressed their willingness to provide technical assistance to the ministry, with a specific focus on driving Nigeria’s economic growth through this vital sector. Lapenn highlighted the importance of this partnership, noting that Minister Oyetola was the first person she visited after the ministerial meeting for Atlantic Cooperation, held on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, convened by US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken.
Ambassador Lapenn also mentioned that the two nations were exploring technology-driven solutions to address challenges within the Marine and Blue Economy sector.
On the other hand, the British delegation, led by Dr. Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, expressed their government’s commitment to collaborating with Nigeria in combatting illegal fishing activities in Nigerian waters. Montgomery praised Minister Oyetola’s decision to pursue a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach to attract investments into the sector.
Dr. Montgomery further conveyed the British government’s readiness to share information and best practices with Nigeria, aiming to assist in the protection of its marine resources.
Minister Adegboyega Oyetola expressed his gratitude to both delegations for their visit and reiterated Nigeria’s dedication to fostering coastal tourism and creating a favorable business environment within the marine and blue economy sector. He affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to implementing the declarations of the Atlantic Cooperation initiative.
“We are committed to rehabilitating our ports for efficiency. I am particularly excited about the desire to partner with us to tackle the challenge of illegal fishing in our waters. We believe that marine fishing will support our economic growth and create job opportunities, especially for our youths. We will equally be leveraging the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, aimed at supporting developing countries like us to protect the marine environment and reduce poverty, especially now that there is a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in place in Nigeria,” Minister Oyetola added.
These collaborative efforts between Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States hold the potential to drive economic growth, enhance sustainability in the marine sector, and create valuable employment opportunities, aligning with Nigeria’s vision for its burgeoning Marine and Blue Economy Ministry.