Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has among other Africans been nominated champion of Blue Economy in Africa. Raila Odinga, Rotimi Amaechi, and others were also nominated for different categories within the Blue Economy. All are set to be inaugurated on the 12th of March 2022 at a public event in Nairobi Kenya.

The award according to the organisers, the Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) is in recognition of distinguished African professionals and political leaders who have made verifiable contributions towards the advancement of the blue (ocean) economy.

President Bio was nominated for the Economic Development category for providing political leadership, improved regulation by enforcing the rule of law, and promoting investments in the blue economy. “He promotes sustainable fishing through programs aimed at curbing unreported and unreported and unregulated fishing,” a press statement from the ABEF reads.

In appreciation of the nomination, the Presidential Press Sectary, Yusuf Keketoma Sandi said that the recognition is a further testimony from an international institution of the leadership of the President. “We are particularly delighted that the nomination is the economic development category which is a recognition of all the achievements he has made: increasing revenue mobilisation in the fishery sector, curbing unreported and unregulated fishing, improving the maritime sector, tackling environmental issues in the blue economy and leading on blue economy initiatives in Africa,” he said. He said they are hopeful that this international nomination will continue to exhibit President Bio’s leadership on global challenges.

According to Politico Newspaper, Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya was also nominated for the Livelihood Improvement category for promoting programs and efforts to improve livelihood and social inclusion in coastal communities in Kenya through harnessing blue economy opportunities in tourism, transport and aquaculture.

The current Nigerian Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was nominated for the Maritime Security category. “This is in recognition for his role in the introduction and implementation of deep blue security project which has led to a marked reduction of the incidences of piracy at sea and overall improvement of maritime security across the Gulf of Guinea,” the statement reads in part.

Nassim Oulmane, Chief Blue and Green Economy of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), was nominated in the Climate Change and Economic Development category for the role in the promotion of multi-sectoral collaboration for advancing blue economy and climate change.

Barka Mossae of the African Union is the nominee for the Partnership category, in recognition of her role in promoting partnerships for the enhancing of the blue economy at the African Union.

Speaking to Politico, Dr. Charles Philemon, the Acting Head of Publicity of ABEF said the Forum received several names of people across Africa for the various categories but that after a thorough vetting by the Steering Committee chaired by Nancy Kairar, a Kenya they were able to select the few based on the shreds of evidence of their work in their respective countries. The ceremony is said to be the maiden edition of the Africa Blue Economy Champions Award 2021.