African Economic Conference: Mauritius cited as model knowledge-driven economy
There are live templates on leveraging the blue economy in Seychelles, Mauritius and Cape Verde, to show what constitutes a successful fisheries industry and blue economy pride, said Ayodele Odusola, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Chief Economist for Africa. (Image: AfDB)
The combined economic transformation successes of Seychelles, Mauritius and Cape Verde offer solid lessons for mainland Africa.”
This statement was made by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Chief Economist for Africa, Ayodele Odusola, during the ninth African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, held from 01 to 03 November, 2014.
Hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the event brought together various stakeholders to deliberate on this year’s theme for the African Economic Conference which is “knowledge and innovation for Africa’s transformation.”
According to Odusola, the African continent needs to turn to their island counterparts to learn more on progressing towards a knowledge-driven economy.
“There are solid lessons on governance, social protection and structural transformation that the African mainland can borrow from the island nations of Cape Verde, Seychelles and Mauritius,” Odusola told journalists at an international press conference.
“We need to be honest and acknowledge that the structural transformation that has been experienced in these small island developing states in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans is not by default,” he said.
“There have been strong political commitment and these will backed by knowledgeable reforms which has seen these countries making deliberate structural transformation decisions which have led them to diversify their economic models.”
Agreeing to Odusola’s statement, Mercy Wambui, UNECA’s communications official, said that there are many lessons that mainland Africa can learn from its oceanic neighbours.
“It is not just aquaculture, maritime trade and governance, but you will be surprised to note that Cape Verde leads all of Africa in harnessing the benefits of the creative economy,” she said.
According to Wambui, the three African small island states have been able to look beyond their vulnerabilities and small size to leverage on their creative assets and natural environment.
“The three island states we are speaking about have done commendably well on meeting the Millennium Development Goals.”
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Cape Verde, which lies 350km off the west coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, has been able to diversify its economy by tapping on its rich cultural heritage to boost its creative economy.
In September this year UNECA released a special report “Unlocking the full potential of the blue economy,” with focus on Africa’s six small island states of Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles.
This report, which is being distributed at the AEC summit, discusses the blue economy ideals of fisheries, maritime trade, tourism, genetic resources, marine energy and carbon market and the challenges of climate change to small island states.
The three island nations’ economic restructuring and social renewal has seen them diversifying their economies by boosting their services sector such as ICTs, tourism and renewable energies sectors.
On top of this, the scaling up of fisheries infrastructure and subsidies has helped prop up the standing of these countries in the continent and across the globe.
“The way mainland African countries approach their fisheries sectors and even general maritime trade and ocean affairs, needs to change,” said Odusola.
He concluded on the note that there are live templates on leveraging the blue economy in Seychelles, Mauritius and Cape Verde to show what constitutes a successful fisheries industry and blue economy pride.