By G9ija

The huge potentials of the African continent’s blue economy can only be unlocked with Nigeria’s active participation.

The Deputy Minister for Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs, Republic of Korea, Choi Yeong, made the assertion in a statement issued by Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Osagie Edward, on Tuesday.

According to Edward, Yeong gave the indication during a courtesy visit to NIMASA management in Lagos, led by the Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Chae.

Biztellers reports that blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs creation, while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.

As an example, Yeong commended the sustained and improved security situation in the Gulf of Guinea with the strong presence of Nigeria.

He added that the Korean government looked forward to continuous support from the Nigerian government in the area of intelligence and information sharing.

In his words, “Nigeria is one of the biggest countries on the African continent in terms of economic size, population and market potential. So, Nigeria can be an essential partner to us, the People of Korea.

“Nigeria can be our gateway to the whole of the African continent. We are glad to inform you that Korea has scheduled a summit involving the entire African continent in 2024 and hope it will strengthen the relationship with Nigeria and Africa.”

On his part, Director-General, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the relationship between both countries dated over 40 years, and therefore a need to deepen it further.

Jamoh identified Korea as a foremost maritime country with highly recognised capacity in ship building and ship repairs, adding that Nigeria was willing to partner with Korea in shipbuilding for the short-, medium- and long-term benefits of both countries.

“There is no how the issue of trade can flourish without adequate security.

“NIMASA is making steady progress in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to secure the safety and security of investors, vessels, and seafarers in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“Considering the fact that the population of Koreans is highest in Nigeria when compared to other African states, the need for an improved relationship between Nigeria and Korea cannot be over-emphasised.

“Korea has arguably the best ship building companies, globally, and that is an area we desire partnership.

“We have commenced discussions with the Samsung Group and Hyundai as well on the issue of shipbuilding and ship repairs,” Jamoh said.

On piracy issues in the Gulf of Guinea, the NIMASA boss pointed out that since the 2nd quarter of 2021, there had been no issues of kidnapping and insecurity.

He assured the visitors that the Federal Government was determined to achieve a safe and secured maritime domain in Nigeria, noting that the time to improve the Korean-Nigerian bilateral relationship, particularly in the fishing sector, was now.

“I believe we can also explore improved interphase in areas such as deep-sea fishing. Fishing in Nigeria used to be a very large source of income, not far behind oil and gas.

“The numbers are not looking very encouraging at the moment. Partnership will lead to more fishing trawlers in Nigerian waters,” he said.

Yeong and his team members visited the Beep Blue C4i Center, located in the NIMASA Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre (NMRDC) in Kirikiri, NIMASA e-Library, the Marine Environment Management Laboratory and the Kitack Lim Regional Maritime Safety and Security Centre of Excellence.