December 16, 2022 (BAHIR DAR, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today inaugurated a two-day workshop for the purpose of validating the National Blue Economy Strategy of Ethiopia. The Strategy will be submitted to a Ministers’ meeting to be held on December 18 in Bahir Dar, on the shores of Lake Tana in Ethiopia.

The ministerial meeting will be presided over by the Minister of Transport and Logistics of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Mrs Dagmawit Moges, and will be attended by the Minister for Tourism, H.E Mrs Nasise Chali and the State Minister for Water and Energy, H.E Dr. Abraha Adugna. The President of the Amhara region, the Mayor of Bahir Dar City, and the President of  Bahir Dar University will also attend the ministerial meeting. Also expected in the meeting are high level officials from Ethiopian Maritime Authority, the Ministry of Labour and Skills, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The main objective of the two-day technical workshop is to prepare for the ministerial meeting with the view of getting the Ethiopian National Blue Economy Strategy endorsed.

Speaking at the opening of the technical meeting, the Director of Agriculture and Environment Division, Mr Daher Elmi, stated: “In order to domesticate the IGAD Blue Economy Strategy, IGAD supports Member States to develop their own national Blue Economy Strategies, aligned with the IGAD and AU Blue Economy Strategies”. “I want to stress that Blue Economy is one of the priorities of IGAD, and this is reflected well in the new IGAD Regional Corporate Strategy 2021-2025. I would like to assure you that IGAD is committed to provide all the necessary support for the sustainable utilization of the Blue Economy potentials for the socio-economic development of the region”, he added.

The President of the Bahir Dar University (BDU), Dr Firew Tegigne, highlighted that the University is the ideal institution for the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence for Blue Economy. According to Dr Firew, BDU is strategically located on the shores of Lake Tana and offers relevant Blue Economy Programmes. “BDU also hosts the National Sea Fearer Training Institute”, he added.

The Deputy Director General of the Ethiopian Maritime Authority, Mr. Yabibal Addis, officially declared the opening of the meeting: “We have been tirelessly working on the development of our National Blue Economy Strategy for the past three years. All line ministries have come together through their expert representatives. This event will therefore be a landmark for bringing the Ministers themselves at the table for Blue Economy.”

The IGAD Blue Economy project is financially supported by the Government of Sweden.