Participants at the first Blue Africa Summit, which was held in Tangiers on November 16 and 17, hailed the “strong ocean commitment” of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.
In the Tangier Declaration issued following the works of this summit, organized under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King for the first time in Africa, the participants called on African countries on the Atlantic seaboard “to join Morocco’s initiative for a solidarity-based coalition”.
The participants also called on all African countries’ national and local authorities to draw up strategies for the sustainable development of their coasts and exclusive economic zones, to support the establishment of maritime space plans on a national and international scale to develop a sustainable blue economy and promote the protection of these spaces and their biodiversity up to 30% by 2030.
The participants in this summit, organized by the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Saison Bleue, also stated that maritime entrepreneurs must develop sustainable economic models that prioritize the well-being of coastal populations while encouraging States to promote initiatives such as the Great Blue Wall or maritime corridors that combine scientific expertise, citizen involvement, and development to protect the Ocean.
The participants also called on African countries and international partners, who recognize the leadership of the Union of the Comoros as the current African Union (AU) Chairmanship holder, to join the African Panel of Heads of State, which was established at the Africa Climate Summit with the aim of developing a regenerative blue economy.
The participants urged the need for all stakeholders to recognize the necessity of establishing a permanent mechanism to serve as a platform for dialogue and an incubator for concrete initiatives to strengthen the Africa-Europe strategic partnership.
The participants, who stressed the imperative of including the voices of women and youth in all activities, forums, and negotiations, pledged to raise Africa’s voice even higher in all international forums, in the continent’s forthcoming ocean meetings, and ongoing and future negotiations on matters concerning the production of plastics, the ban on subsidies for illegal fishing or overfishing, and the exploitation of the deep seabed.
The participants also called on African states to ratify BBJN (Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction) agreements as soon as possible, to facilitate, among other things, the development of marine protected areas, urging the organizers of the upcoming United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC 3), scheduled to take place in Nice in June 2025 under the co-chairmanship of France and Costa Rica, to promote African maritime development by encouraging national and international consultation in 2024, in close collaboration with the African Union (AU).
“As to establishing a genuine African leadership on the Ocean and strengthening the continent’s contribution to UNOC 3, we thank the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Saison Bleue for organizing, in November 2024 in Tangier, a second edition of the Blue Africa Summit,” stated the Declaration, adding that this event will be an opportunity to assess the progress achieved and raise the voice of oceanic Africa to highs levels ahead of the major United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC 3).
Recalling that Africa, with a population expected to reach two billion by 2050 and nearly four billion by the end of the century, and with almost two-thirds of its population living less than 60 km from a coastline, is a continent worthy of special attention, the participants affirmed that African growth depends and will largely depend on investments in the blue economy or finance, as long as they benefit local economies and populations.
The participants argued that providing access to the countries of the Sahel and inland Africa can only be achieved through an ambitious oceanic vision, noting that the recognition of Africa’s oceanity entails the development of coastal and port infrastructures, as well as fishing and trading fleets, to enable states and populations to benefit from their own commercial, fishing, marine, genetic, and energy resources.
“We also encourage sustainable and innovative financing, the development of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises,” stated the participants.
The Blue Africa Summit was attended by representatives from 26 of the 38 coastal states in Africa, as well as neighboring countries in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Indian basins, political leaders, representatives of the scientific community, civil society, African youth, and economic actors.
The summit was also marked by the presence of high-level representatives from the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and other organizations representing the maritime community.