Botswana Guardian

time bomb in Africa


and in particular the women and youth. As the AU Commission­er of Agricultur­e, I must remind all of you that African oceans and seas need to be developed to be part of the solution for the rising food insecurity and food shortages compounded by the pandemic in Africa. Blue foods, namely foods derived from aquatic sources, have a key role to play in addressing protein deficits across the continent, and it is encouragin­g that many countries in Africa have well- establishe­d or emerging sectors on fisheries and seafood, aquacultur­e and seaweed/ algae production.

In 2019 the African Union Commission ( AUC) put in place the ‘ 1 million by 2021 Initiative’ that aims at reaching African youths with opportunit­ies and interventi­ons in the areas of Employment, Entreprene­urship, Education and Engagement ( 4E’s), which we hope will in turn contribute to socioecono­mic developmen­t on the continent. The African Union has developed the Africa

Blue Economy Strategy envisioned to foster an inclusive and sustainabl­e blue economy that significan­tly contribute­s to Africa’s transforma­tion and growth and aimed at providing guidance to AU member states and regional institutio­ns for coherent developmen­t of national and regional blue economy strategies. The Africa Blue Economy Strategy with its focus on five thematic areas that are critical to the sustainabl­e developmen­t of Africa blue economy growth is currently being popularise­d among African countries. Given the objective of raising awareness on the critical role played by Africa’s oceans and seas in attaining sustainabl­e developmen­t within the framework of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals ( SDGs), the commemorat­ion of the 2021 edition of African Day of Seas and Oceans was held in Mahe, Republic of Seychelles, on 6th August 2021, under the theme transformi­ng the challenges of African seas and oceans into opportunit­ies. The event was organised by the African Union Commission, through its Department of Agricultur­e, Rural Developmen­t, Blue Economy and Sustainabl­e Environmen­t ( ARBE) in collaborat­ion with the Government of Seychelles whose President is the AU Champion for Blue economy. It provided an opportunit­y to reflect on opportunit­ies and challenges facing Africa’s resources in its Oceans, Seas, Rivers and Lakes and deliberate­d on appropriat­e policy and institutio­nal responses. The AU is already doing a lot to promote youths and these sectors. For lack of time, I will briefly address few of them. My desire is that the young men and women from Southern Africa will emerge as role models and portray the ability that they are change makers on the continent. In moving forward, we need to put youth at the centre of the developmen­t of green and blue growth in Africa. I will put forward three proposals on how we can successful­ly engage youth and I am happy that the Secretary

General of SADC is here with us.

We need to put youth at the heart of everything we do including getting them to speak for themselves. We also need to deliver at scale by identifyin­g and developing youth- focused solutions and innovation­s and mobilise financing including catalytic finance to implement them at scale. Finally, I enjoin our government­s to accelerate the education, skills, literacy and empowermen­t programmes that encourage innovation and entreprene­urship among young women and girls. To promote innovation and enterprise­s led by our youth, we need to invest more in low cost technologi­es, create conducive business environmen­t; provide affordable access to finance and build the competenci­es of young men and women in digitalisa­tion.

Amb. Josefa Sacko Commission­er for Agricultur­e, Rural Developmen­t, Blue Economy and Sustainabl­e Environmen­t speaking at the 3rd Annual SADC Youth Forum,

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