World Bank to help Mauritius realize Ocean Economy potential
The island economy is blessed with a maritime zone stretching over more than 2.3 million km2 and has enlisted the advisory services of the World Bank to harness its potential.
Nothing can now stand in the way of Mauritius making it big on the international stage as an ocean economy. None other than the mighty World Bank has been roped in to help Mauritius turn its dream of a blue economy into reality.
Even as the 2014 Budget listed out the Ocean Economy as a new economic pillar for the island economy, blessed with a maritime zone stretching over more than 2.3 million km2, the government has enlisted the advisory services of the World Bank.
The international organization will assist with the development of the legislative, regulatory and fiscal framework for the hydrocarbon and the deep sea mineral mining sector.
Besides hydrocarbon exploitation within the maritime zone, there are unexplored opportunities for deep mineral mining in waters beyond the country’s national jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Economic activities identified in the roadmap include seabed exploration of hydrocarbons and minerals; fishing, seafood processing and aquaculture; deep ocean water applications; marine services, including marine biotechnology; marine renewable energies; and ocean knowledge, amongst others.
Since mineral resources world-wide are administered by a common global body, the International Seabed Authority, it is important for Mauritius to position itself to take advantage of the opportunity.
Else, the island economy risks losing out on the wealth in its own backyard, while other nations take advantage of their deep sea mining expertise to mine natural resources buried in the far depths of the sea.
Meanwhile, the latest budget, presented last month, makes provision for the setting up of a National Ocean Economy Task Force to oversee the implementation of the roadmap, supported by an office for ocean affairs and development.
To further emphasize their commitment to the Ocean Economy, the government of Mauritius has allocated Rs 6 billion for two Deep Ocean Water Application projects already in the pipeline.
Besides, the preparation of a Petroleum and Minerals Exploration and Extraction Framework Agreement and the establishment of a new faculty on Ocean studies at the University of Mauritius were also taken up under the Budget.