The Eastern Cape Maritime Summit on November 13 in Port Elizabeth will spur trade and investment in the region and assist entrepreneurs and investors understand how to tap into the “blue economy”, increasingly hailed as South Africa’s proverbial golden goose.
The Eastern Cape Province with its 800km of coastline, and three ports, including the Port of Nqura – one of the fastest growing terminals in the world – is set to become South Africa’s leading hub of maritime economic activity and while government’s Operation Phakisa had effectively placed the maritime economy well onto the development agenda, business lacked knowledge and resources to tangibly enter the sector, Inkanyezi Event’s CEO Andrew Binning says.
The Maritime Summit, he said, will address, at a practical level, actual opportunities and how businesses and entrepreneurs can access them, through case-studies and other expert presentations.
Plenary sessions, followed by break-away streams focussed on specific aspects such as Transport, Aquaculture and Tourism will draw over 300 national delegates.
The tradeshow, featuring up to 100 exhibiting organisations would spur sales and contracts between buyers and suppliers in the sector nationally, Binning said.
“We want to provide critical information and resources without the Summit becoming another talkshop – so opportunity and sales are the two key themes.” The Summit is presented under the auspices of the Nelson Mandela Bay Maritime Cluster with the collaboration of Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Business, Border Kei Chamber of Business and the Eastern Cape Department of Transport, the custodian of Maritime transport in the region, among others.
The South African government announced in October 2014 that it would be implementing ocean economy projects, which it expected to contribute more than R20 billion to the country’s gross domestic product by 2019.
These projects form part of the government’s National Development Plan.
South Africa’s oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to the GDP and create over 1 million jobs by 2033 according to government agencies.
Binning said the drive for the region to maximise its participation in the global “blue economy”, was strengthened with the launch of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in Nelson Mandela Bay and the development of a Maritime School at the NMMU.
Compelling additional factors, Binning said, included the fact that between 60% 70% of the world’s fish species were exhausted. And, with 1 of 5 individuals globally relying on ocean food as sources of protein, aqua-farming, as an example, was a highly viable proposition, notwithstanding the obstacles to production.
“80% of the country’s trade is carried out by sea and it has therefore become necessary to prioritise the shipping industry.
South Africa is one of the top 15 shipping countries in the world in terms of the tonnage transported to and from its ports. This presents significant opportunity in the movement of goods, ship repair, ship chandlers and others with tourism, environmental protection and de-salination additional focus points.
Binning said The Summit would take place in Port Elizabeth on 13 November this year and in East London (2016) and Mthatha (2017) in the years thereafter on a rotating basis with the facilitation and guidance of the Eastern Cape Department of Transport.
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/blue-economy-summit/53028/2015/08