In the vibrant city of Tangier, Morocco, nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the inaugural Blue Africa Summit took place on November 16th and 17th, 2023. Organised under the distinguished patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, the summit brought together political leaders, representatives from coastal regions, economic stakeholders, scientists, maritime users, and members of civil society. The event took place under the presidency of Rym Benzina (chairwoman of La Saison Bleue), Pascal Lamy (President of the Forum Mondial de la Mer-Bizerte and co-chair of Africa-Europe Foundation) and Abdeljalil Lahjomri (Perpetual Secretary of the Kingdom of Morocco) and culminated in the issuance of the Declaration of Tangier, outlining the collective commitment to address crucial issues affecting Africa’s maritime future.
Exploring the Summit’s Objectives and Discussions
The Blue Africa Summit aimed to create a unified vision for the major challenges facing Africa’s maritime landscape by the year 2030. With over 200 million Africans residing within 50 kilometres of the coastline, the continent has emerged as a significant maritime power. Discussions delved into economic, strategic, and security dimensions, addressing concerns such as piracy, illegal fishing, environmental degradation, and the impact of climate change on coastal regions.
Mercator Ocean International’s Director General, Pierre Bahurel, actively participated in thematic discussions, notably in the Roundtable 2, focusing on “Ocean, Knowledge, and Climate,” which explored issues such as sea-level rise, erosion, extreme events, and biogeographical threats.
The Declaration of Tangier
The culmination of the summit was marked by the issuance of the Declaration of Tangier. Representatives from 26 African coastal states, along with Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean neighbours, outlined key points in the declaration. Emphasizing the threats and opportunities presented by the ocean, the declaration highlighted the need for sustainable economic and financial models, infrastructure development, and support for local communities.
Mercator Ocean International was thrilled to participate in the first edition of the Blue Africa Summit, with Director General Pierre Bahurel contributing his expertise to shape the dialogue. As a forward-looking initiative, MOi is keen to follow the future Blue Africa Summits, that can play a role in contributing to the sustainable development of Africa’s maritime ecosystem.
The Blue Africa Summit serves as a milestone in fostering collaboration among African nations, international organisations, and stakeholders to navigate the complex challenges facing the continent’s ocean. With the commitment of the participants, the Blue Africa Summit can help pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable maritime future for Africa.