The Ocean Economy – sometimes referred to as the Blue Economy – is becoming a topic of increasing importance, not only for the small island developing states themselves but also for the world as a whole, and is one of the key action points of the Sustainable Development Goals, the successor programme to the Millennium Development Goals which ended this year. As the UNCTAD report of 2014 stated, the Ocean Economy promises significant development opportunities but also raises challenges in sectors such as sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, renewable marine energy, bio-prospecting, transport and tourism.
On 30 September, DMA was pleased to co-host with legal firm Brown Rudnick a roundtable on the Ocean Economy as seen from the perspective of one island state, Mauritius. Long acknowledged as one of the major success stories of Africa, Mauritius is now looking forward under the new Government’s Vision 2030, outlined in August, planning the next stage of its economic development in which the ocean economy will play a major part, with the aim to double its contribution to Mauritius’ GDP over the next ten years.
A senior Mauritian delegation, led by Dr Jawa Lallchand, chairperson of the new National Ocean Council which has both public and private sector representatives, outlined to attendees the areas in which Mauritius will be seeking investment opportunities. Not simply a ‘future vision’, since projects are already underway in a number of the sectors, Dr Lallchand and the delegation also stressed that this is work in progress, with many projects being developed further in the coming weeks and months. The strategy for the ocean economy is also part of a wider national strategy which the new Government outlined in August.