Press release

Foreign Minister says Oceanic Resources Key to Africa’s Future

May 23, 2013

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has called for a focus on the inclusion of Africa’s oceanic resources when planning for the future.

Speaking at the African Union Executive Council meeting, which has brought together Africa’s Foreign Ministers ahead of the 21st African Union Summit, which is being held as African states celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union, Minister Adam said the occasion provided an opportunity to correct past neglect.

“Many of the problems we face today is because we have not adequately looked at our maritime resources, thereby limiting our opportunities for development.”

Minister Adam asked that any public commitment made to Africa’s people should include a commitment to the growth and protection of the Blue Economy alongside any commitment to promoting the Green Economy, as non-mutually exclusive avenues of sustainable development both offering untold potential.

The Minister added that the problems now being faced in the Indian Ocean is due to a lack of ownership and policy directed at the management of Africa’s oceanic zones. He illustrated the example of how Somalia’s resources had been pillaged by foreign interests, and how not enough benefit was being derived by peoples of Africa from their own oceanic resources.  He added that Africa must avoid its resources being exploited by external powers and move away from the current dependency on foreign forces to police its waters and be more self-reliant.

“We must preserve and develop Africa’s oceanic space to bring more benefits from oceanic resources to the peoples of Africa, better contribute to Africa’s food security, and improve the maritime trade and transportation network available to us,” said the Minister.

The upcoming Summit of Heads of State, of which President James Michel is expected to participate, is being held under the theme Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance and a large part of the agenda is not only to celebrate the achievements of the past 50 years but to look to the next 50 years and articulate Africa’s ambitions for the future.