The blue economy has the potential to save Ghana from its recurrent economic hardship, Dr Emmanuel Kofi Mbiah, a Maritime Consultant and Legal Practitioner has stated.
Dr Mbiah, who is also a former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), said there was a need for the government to properly develop the country's blue economy to serve as a buffer for the national economy.
He said the potential benefits that could come out of the strategic use of Ghana's ocean resources, and its associated economy was enormous and capable of catapulting the country on to greater success.
Speaking at a Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority's forum in Tema, the former GSA Chief Executive said it was estimated that the ocean and its resources was worth over 24 trillion dollars.
He added that in 2020, the United States of America had 1.7 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the ocean economy, which amounted to over 360 billion dollars.
He noted that the European Union also accrued about 500 billion Euros from it, as they realized the potential of the blue economy many years ago.
Dr Mbiah, who is also the former chairman of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Legal Committee, said Asia controls about 70 per cent of the production of ships, therefore contributing to the growth of their economies.
He explained that the blue economy did not only cover resources the country could tap from the ocean, but also those that could be created in terms of core and ancillary industries.
He cited Tema as a perfect example of establishing ocean resources as it was used as a focal point of development, which led to the creation of an active industrial city.
He recounted that out of the Port of Tema, the Fishing Harbour, Fish Processing Factories, Cocoa Processing Factory, Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), and other industries were created many years ago as a complement establishment of the port.
Dr Mbiah said Ghana could learn from the success of Tema and begin to take the “blue cluster” approach.
He said, “if other developments and industries do not spring up because of the Atuabo Gas Plant in Nzemaland, as well as the Jubilee and TEN oil field exploration in the areas they were located it meant they would become underutilized.
“If you are taking upstream oil explorations, to what extent do we break it down to midstream and downstream? Until you do that, then the benefits that are derivable from the Blue Economy are not derived”.
He said Ghana should recognize its potential within the renewal energy sector as the world was gradually moving away from the dependence on fossil fuels for energy, saying it was important to train people so that Ghana could tap energy from the sea either through tidal, wave or wind.
Dr Mbiah advised the government to take marine spatial planning very seriously to consolidate the ecological, economic and social gains of Ghana's enviable coastline.