The United States is looking to partner with Nigeria to harness the nation’s vast blue economy potential, according to a senior U.S. official.
Jessye Lapenn, a coordinator at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, said Nigeria is a key leader in the ocean space with major opportunities to spur economic growth. She said a U.S.-Nigeria partnership could facilitate exchanges between scientists, research, and information sharing.
“I think this partnership will be an important platform for Nigerian leadership,” Lapenn said Tuesday in Abuja. She noted that the two countries’ vision for developing the blue economy aligns.
Nigeria established its Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to focus on the sustainable use of ocean resources. The blue economy refers to economic activities related to oceans and coasts while preserving ecosystems.
Thirty-two Atlantic coastal countries across four continents adopted the Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation to strengthen partnerships on economic development, environmental protection, science, and technology.
Sustainable ocean industries are estimated to create 50 million jobs in Africa and contribute $21 billion to Latin America’s GDP. However, illegal fishing, disasters, and trafficking threaten blue economies.
The declaration recognizes the vulnerabilities and insights of coastal communities that live on the ocean. President Buhari appointed Adegboyega Oyetola as Nigeria’s first Minister of Marine and Blue Economy.
The U.S. sees partnership opportunities with Nigeria’s new ministry to unlock the potential of the blue economy and create sustainable growth and jobs.
The Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy is one of the new ministries created by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, with Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola as its first minister.