SA eyes oceans of opportunities

The South African environment minister says the oceans economy holds vast opportunities for young people.

14 January 2019 | Economics

South Africa Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the oceans economy has shown vast opportunities for the participation of young people, as well as the diversification of the economy and the maximum utilisation of coastland for the betterment and prosperity of the country.

"We now have a programme that we call the oceans economy in our country, which is a programme that for the first time has actually shown vast opportunities for participation of young people, the diversification of our economy as a country, and the maximum utilisation of our coastland for the betterment and prosperity of our country," said Mokonyane at the 2019 Partnership for Action on the Green Economy (Page) ministerial conference last week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The conference, which looked at economic and social inclusion allied to creating sustainable economies as part of efforts to help nations reframe economic policies to focus on sustainability and foster economic growth, welcomed over 500 delegates from across the globe.

According to Page, "the challenge is how to create more than 600 million jobs, reduce inequalities, protect the environment and grow the economy".

Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said: "We should not put the expenses of the green economy against that of social growth." During the discussion, Germany was considered as the global green economy leader and German Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutters shared ideas on how other countries can progress in this regard.

She said: "Look at labour market elements; the main aim is to focus on social dialogue and how to bring this conversation forward."

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Nikhil Seth, who was also part of the discussion panel on the opening day on Thursday, added: "We need to give social inclusion a real meaning when taking these steps."

In August 2013, then president Jacob Zuma undertook a state visit to Malaysia. He was introduced to the Big Fast Results Methodology through which the Malaysian government achieved significant government and economic transformation within a very short time.

Using this approach, they addressed national key priority areas such as poverty, crime and unemployment. With the support of the Malaysian government, the Big Fast Results approach was adapted to the South African context.

To highlight the urgency of delivery, the approach was renamed to Operation Phakisa (phakisa means “hurry up" in Sesotho).

According to the environmental affairs department, Operation Phakisa represents that new spirit of moving faster in meeting government's targets. The South African government's starting point was that the country is surrounded by a vast ocean which has not been fully taken advantage of to realise the immense potential of this untapped resource. The oceans economy has the estimated potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the South African gross domestic product (GDP) and create just over one million jobs by 2033. -Nampa/ANA

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