Unlocking South Africa's Ocean Economy
The Ocean Economy (or the Blue Economy) is defined as a subset of, and complement to, the evolving development paradigm emphasizing greener and more sustainable and inclusive economic paths. It seeks to expand the economic frontiers of coastal countries beyond their land territories. The Oceans economy encompasses a sustainable economy for the ocean-based marine environment, related biodiversity, ecosystems, species and genetic resources including marine living organisms (from fish and algae to micro-organisms) and natural resources in the seabed, while ensuring their sustainable use and hence, conservation.
The value of the global ocean economy is expected to double between 2010-2030
The value add to the Global Economy by the Ocean Economy in 2010 was 1,5 trillion US$, this is expected to rise to 3 billion US$ by 2030, at a CAGR of 3.7%. Key sectors include Tourism, Shipping and Oil & Gas. Oil & Gas's contribution is however expected to decrease significantly, due to the emergence of renewable forms of energy, hence the major increase expected in the contribution is of marine renewables. South Africa's Ocean Economy is growing at a much higher rate than the global Ocean Economy. Particularly six sectores are identified as key for tapping into the potential of the ocean economy: Marine Transport & Manufacturing, Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Aquaculture, Marine Protection Services, Ocean Governance, Small Harbours Development, Coastal and Marine Tourism.
Innovation driven growth
South Africa's National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) has placed great emphasis on knowledge creation and innovation as part of its growth strategy. In comparison to other BRICS members, South Africa's relative spend on R & D has been historically low. With an increased emphasis on innovation and knowledge creation in the country going forward to 2030, this is expected to increase tremendously. The maritime sector is a highly technological sector and is constantly changing, meaning investment in research, development and innovation is critical.
With technology in the Ocean Economy constantly changing, innovation is critical, and Finland could be considered an ideal partner to improving R & D capabilities in South Africa going forward.