IGAD Blue Economy

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The IGAD Blue Economy Initiative
Cognizant of the important role that the Blue Economy plays in the socio-economic development and transformation of the region, IGAD has embarked on the development of a Regional Blue Economy Strategy and organizing a regional Conference to create awareness among Member States and relevant stakeholders on the role of the Blue Economy in economic, social, political and environment development and transformation of the region.

The Development of the IGAD Blue Economy Strategy
With the assistance of European Union Technical Cooperation Facility (EU-TCF), a consulting firm was hired to conduct a baseline study on the Contribution of Blue Economy - Assessing the Value of Blue Economy in Member States and at Regional Levels. The baseline study will inform the design of a 5-year regional Blue Economy strategy. National assessment studies will be validated at Member States level while the regional strategy will be adopted through a Ministerial Meeting in accordance with IGAD policy formulation procedures.

IGAD Regional Blue Economy Conference
IGAD is organising its first regional Blue Economy Conference to raise awareness on the prospects of ocean/inland waters-related industries and the Blue Growth principles for promoting and sustaining accelerated economic growth, shared prosperity, climate resilience and peace in the Horn of Africa. Moreover, at the technical segment of the Conference, Member States will present the status of the development of Blue Economy in their respective countries. The sustainable blue economic development initiative is aligned with and reinforces IGAD’s overarching sustainable development agenda for the region. This initiative also complements the vision and aspirations contained in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 14 on life below water; and further the African Union Continental Agenda 2063, the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050. It will also be aligned with AUC Blue Economy Strategy 2019.

The Conference Arrangement
The two days’ Blue Economy conference on is the first regional event and offers an opportunity to discuss Blue Economy development in the IGAD region at large as well as offers a platform for the region to show-case its Blue Economy components and their linkages with different sub-sectors of the national economy. The two days will be fully dedicated for awareness creation and sharing of best practices.

The event will unveil Blue Economy opportunities available in the region for governments, private sector investors, donors and development partners, civil society, academia and other actors. It will also provide an opportunity to learn and get information on global and continental good practices, lessons and experiences on Blue Economy development.

Additionally, the conference will provide a regional multi-stakeholder, multi-sector and multi-scale platform to identify potential Blue Economy priority areas in the region, as well as technical discourses on the prospects for mainstreaming Blue Economy potential priority areas into regional and national development strategies.


The main objectives of the event are:

  •  To create awareness on the role of Blue Economy in contributing to the socio-economic development of the region
  •  To explore the Blue Economy Concept and Blue Growth Principles in the regional socio-ecological context in common but differentiated approach
  •  To review the development prospects and challenges of well-integrated traditional and emerging Blue Economy sectors for leapfrogging accelerated and shared growth
  • Develop a road map for the Blue Economy Strategy meeting planned for Mid-September 2020 in the Federal Government of Somalia.


The envisaged conference outcomes include the following:

  • The role of Blue Economy for sustainable socio-economic development understood
  • Best practices documented and shared
  • Network of professionals on Blue Economy created
  • Road Map for Mid-September Ministerial Meeting in the Federal Government of Somalia to adopt the Regional Blue Economy Strategy developed. 

As stated above, the term “sustainable” is inspired by the principles of Sustainable Development or Global Sustainability as defined in the Brundtland Report 1987, i.e. the development that meets the needs of the present and future generations. It aims at restoring the balance between three interconnected dimensions namely, Economic Efficiency - Environment Integrity - Social Equity so that the Society and Economy may operate within the planetary boundaries. The concept is also referred to as a triple-win (People-Profit-Planet) or shared-value approach. These fundamentals are rolled-out in the time-bound socio-economic aspirations of the UN Global Agenda 2030 - No Hunger - No one is to be left behind. The sustainable development concept is operationalised by the Green Economy (SDG 15 – Life on land) for the land-based and the Blue Economy (SDG 14 – Life below water) for marine-based living resources and ecosystems. In other words, the Blue Economy consists of greening the ocean-based industries and their natural environments. Overall, the SDG 14 and 15 capture the entire Land-Ocean nexus of our Planet. On the African continent, the Blue Economy paradigm is also adapted for the sustainable management of the Great Lakes such as Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. The FAO has formulated the Blue Growth Initiatives to mainstream the Blue Economy alongside its Voluntary Guidelines Framework to promote sustainable management and development of the inland and marine small-scale fisheries. The essence is the democratisation of sustainable development to make it accessible the commons - Regional Strategies – Local Actions!

As one of the 8 Regional Economic Communities of the African Union, IGAD is committed to aligning its policy and institutional frameworks to meet up the regional cooperation and integration agenda of the African Union. The United States of Africa is not a  far-fetched dream with the operationalisation of the continent-wide Common Trade Agreement. However, it must adapt its political economy model that integrates an equitable distribution of income and wealth avoid pursuing the liberal capitalism doctrine and the free market fundamentalism. Strong institutions are good for democracy and prosperity. Inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. There must not be a trade-off between high economic growth and equitable income distribution. Making the rich richer does not help the poor and is counterproductive. Low taxation is tantamount less spending on essential social services. In other words, irrespective of adopting Green or Blue Economy, Sustainable Development can be boiled down ethics, moral and honesty. Democracy will cede to populism if the local communities are left behind. The most unpredictable part of the economic equation is human behaviour. In shorthand, Sustainable development is about reconnecting the people to humanity and it requires to believe in a new story – “The Future We want”. So, there is an urgent need for social innovation and transformation to progress sustainable development on our planet.


Documents and relevant materials to the conference available below.

About the Conference
Concept note


Panel content