The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Dr. Magdalene Ajani has articulated where the World Bank could come in with its expertise and experience from working with some coastal countries to help develop needed structures of the newly created Ministry. “We need you to guide us to develop a framework, a clear roadmap and clear strategic plans” for the Ministry so that we can proceed properly along the path of developing a marine and blue economy such as the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR envisaged when it created the Ministry.” “Without all these, we will just be wobbling. We will just be working without proceeding along the pathway envisaged for us.” “We want to say at the end of the first tenure of this administration that these are our achievements; we will definitely need help.”

Dr. Magdalene Ajani was speaking today, Tuesday, 5th December, 2023 at a meeting with Drita Dade, a Senior Environmental Specialist (Western and Central African Region) with the World Bank Group who came seeking to know how the World Bank could come in, deploying its vast expertise and experience to assist African countries and by extension, the new Nigeria’s Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy find their feet as far as blue economy is concerned, which she stated that “based on the several analysis done by the World Bank, will invariably turn out to be the basis for economic growth.

The Permanent Secretary took up the World Bank Specialist up, on her revelation that the World Bank has already conducted a study to enhance the coastal status of the three Nigerian States of Lagos, Delta and Cross River in terms of marine and blue economy which she said ought to be availed her Ministry. “We don’t even have that (access to the study, its findings and recommendations).” “Apart from maritime and maritime safety, we’re zero.”

Dr, Ajani revealed that the structure of the newly created Marine and Blue Economy Ministry was just being approved with the additional Blue Economy Department to the pre-existing Marine Safety and Security and Maritime Services “and that is just a week ago.” “We’ve got involved in deep sea mining, the Ministry has been involved in International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Jamaica just in the last eighteen months, these are things we need to galvanize together as a Ministry to form a proper framework. The organizational design we have right now does not have fishery and aquaculture and should be. Probably when we develop a proper framework, we should be able to convince the Government why these should be in the Ministry.” Dr. Ajani sought the assistance of the World bank to be able to put the mentioned constituents of framework for the new Ministry together before the end of the first quarter of 2024.”

The Legal Adviser of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr. Pius Oteh while speaking in support of his Permanent Secretary sought for the World Bank to help the Ministry with the provision of “knowledge and knowledge sharing, data services” of which he expressed the belief that the World bank has accumulated by virtue of its work in other jurisdictions of the world.”

The Director, Legal Services further highlighted the need for the development of the capacity of the professionals who would be manning the new Ministry, the legal and even the core maritime areas to help the officers of the Ministry to have a good grasp of what they ought to be doing.”

Drita Dade revealed that the World Bank could help in providing needed data just as the Bank could assist through its “Pro-Blue” which is a programme for blue economy.

The Senior Environmental Specialist of the World Bank further revealed that the Bank’s integrated coastal zone management can be put at the disposal of Marine and Blue Economy Ministry to develop policies for the management of wastes especially plastic wastes and eliminate its impact for Nigeria. “The idea now is to balance the development and to increase employment and inclusive growth and also enhance the natural capital, the ecosystem that the oceans provide and seeing how the preservation of these resources can result in food security and increasing employment.”

“We can also bring in experts working in similar programmes to build the capacity of Nigerian officials of the Ministry.”

The specialist also recommended to the officials of the new Ministry to come up with a draft proposal which could be modified with additional adjustments made, to the World Bank.

Drita Dade also suggested “Marine Special Planning” as another window of funding for supporting the new Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy; “It is a tool which countries are using; it involves bringing together all the agencies, not just the key institutions to seek to improve the ecosystem.”

Report by Gift Osima (Chief Information Officer) & Desmond Adyo (Senior Information Officer).

Olujimi Oyetomi

Director, Press & Public Relations