Blue Economy means the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.” Tanzania has enormous water related resources: the lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa and Rukwa accounting for about 37% of the national area; a coast-line of 1,424 km and hundreds of islands in the Zanzibar archipelago.
The Blue economic agenda naturally became a top priority for both mainland and Zanzibar. H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan defined Blue Economy as a priority in her first State of the Nation address and H.E. Hussein Mwinyi created a Ministry of the Blue Economy.
Not only this efforts will allow Tanzania to develop a sustain-able utilization of its marine, lake and littoral resources, but the country could become a leader on the Blue Economy strategy over the next few years.
France’s Blue Economy strategy in Indian Ocean
As members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), France and Tanzania will interact more closely on this shared priority. Indeed, due to its over-seas territories in the region Mayotte and La Réunion, being the most well-known French islands France became an IORA member in 2020.
This dynamic inter-governmental organization aims at strengthening cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 Member States with a focus on maritime safety and security; trade and investment; tourism; academic, scientific and technological exchanges; fisheries management; disaster risk management; women’s economic empowerment; and, of course… Blue Economy.
Blue Economy is also the priority of France’s chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in 2021-22. IOC has been for more than 30 years now, the only African organization of which France is part, alongside the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles. In the framework of its IOC presidency, France will enhance its cooperation with the whole region and Tanzania, in various fields, including security in the maritime area, economic integration, preservation of the environment and management of environmental risks.
How can France support Tanzania’s Blue Economy Strategy?
The Embassy of France to Tanzania is already supporting two projects related to Blue Economy. The first one is implemented by Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), fostering environmental education and biodiversity protection along coastal forests. The second, called “Plastiki yako mazingira yetu” is implemented by the NGO Nipe Fagio and targets the production and consumption of single-use plastic in Tanzania, promoting zero waste model in the country.
Furthermore, the French Development Agency (AFD) implements with Tanzania its Oceans Strategy, guiding the group’s activities in regards of marine and coastal areas. For example, AFD is financing the Aqua Coco Project, linked to aquaculture and conservation efforts with the NGO IUCN, AFD also works with the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Tanzania Forest Services in order to implement a global reforestation project.
The discussion on the many aspects of Blue Economy are ongoing among France, Tanzania and Zanzibar in order to contribute together to an ambitious Blue Economy strategy, beneficial for both our countries but also to the whole Indian Ocean region.