By ZION Olalekan
A group known as African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA) and headed by a Nigerian maritime lawyer, Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere has been given an African Union (AU) 2018 Special Award of Excellence for Blue Economy.
At the just concluded conference organised by the African Union (AU) tagged Global Conference on Blue Economy and held at the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Kenya, the presenters said WIMAFRICA got the award as a result of its successful partnership with the African Union Commission in the promotion of Africa’s blue economy.
The organisers also said they recognised WIMAFRICA as the best association in the promotion of the sustainability of the African continent blue economy, pointing out that the association has done well in actualising its set goals and objectives.
Apparently pleased by the development, the President of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure, the President of the World Maritime University (WMU), Malmo, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, and other key stakeholders in the maritime industry poured accolades on WIMAFRICA which has multiple award winning Lagos base maritime lawyer, Mrs. Jean Chiazor Anishere as its President.
Presenting the award, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat commended WIMAFRICA for the stride it has made since its establishment. He also enjoined the leadership of the association and its entire members to continue to take what he called “giant strides” in the bid to harness the potentials of blue economy in the African continent.
Anishere in her response expressed delight pointing out that it would propel the association to greater heights. She also noted that the encomiums poured on the association would ginger it to do more in the years ahead.
Describing the award as a “glorious one”, the WIMAFRICA President assured that the association would intensify efforts to promote AU’s agenda in the development and sustainability of the blue economy across the African continent.
She stated that protecting African oceans should not be a debate but an actual necessity. She noted that with over 90 percent of earth’s water; the oceans generate over half of the oxygen humans breathe, regulating the climate and providing food and income for billions of people, among other things.
Her words: “Sustainability in the context of a blue economy is all about Africa’s ability to use the ocean space as opportunity for development, new energy possibilities, protected areas that improve biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and provide increased food security. It is about the sustainable use of our potential mineral wealth on the ocean floor. It is about offsetting our own emissions and those of our planet in the fight against climate change.”
Giving an insight into the formation of the association, Anishere said: “The creation of WIMAFRICA which was triggered by Her Excellence Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, then the Chairperson of the AU Commission on 25 October, 2013 at the inaugural Maritime Indaba, Johannesburg, South Africa. It was borne out of the need to create more awareness of the opportunities available to women in Africa and specifically, in the blue economy. Thus, we have made it our aim to encourage and stimulate women in the marine and maritime sectors, throughout Africa by the promotion of targeted, comprehensive and continuous investment in educational initiatives in all the relevant sectors. We also aim to promote cooperation and collaboration between national, regional and international organisation to advance African women in the maritime sector”.
The WIMAFRICA President stated that Africa’s endowment in enormous natural resources could never be overemphasized just as she admonished the continent to embrace the blue economy.
According to Anishere, Africans need to embrace the solutions blue economy proffers to the economic problems and development needs facing them and the continent.
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