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SA’s ocean to boost economy

Written by Nosihle Shelembe

Government will implement ocean economy projects, which are expected to contribute more than R20 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2019.

“Going forward, delivery units have been established in the lead departments to drive the implementation of the detailed delivery plans. We will achieve the growth and the jobs we need in the economy,” President Jacob Zuma said.

He said progress on the ocean economy initiatives would be monitored on a weekly basis by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

President Zuma was speaking in Durban during the open day of Operation Phakisa, which promotes economic growth and job creation in line with the goals outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The open day was an opportunity for the President to release the results of weeks of exploratory work of unlocking the country’s ocean economy.

Operation Phakisa has four priority areas, which include marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture as well as marine protection services and ocean governance.

The operation is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was successfully applied by the Malaysian Government in the delivery of its Economic and Government Transformation Programmes.

President Zuma said the oceans have the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the GDP and create just over one million jobs by 2033.

He said teams from government, labour, business, academia and other sectors worked together explore all possibilities and further unlock the potential of the country’s vast coastline. The work stream on offshore oil and gas exploration has set a target of drilling 30 exploration wells in the next 10 years.

“Over the next 20 years, this work could lead to the production of 370 000 barrels of oil and gas per day. The result would be 130 000 jobs and a contribution of US $2,2 billion [approximately R23.8 billion] to GDP,” said President Zuma.

South Africa’s coast and adjoining waters have possible resources of approximately nine billion barrels of oil.

The aquaculture work stream underlined the high growth potential of South Africa’s aquaculture sector due to an increasing demand for fish. Eight initiatives that could spur growth in the sector have been identified.

One of the initiatives includes implementing 24 projects across South Africa, which are expected to grow the aquaculture sector’s revenue from about R500 million today, to almost R1,4 billion in 2019.

President Zuma said the marine protection services and ocean governance work stream has undertaken the task of developing a comprehensive, integrated ocean governance framework for the sustainable growth of the ocean economy.

He said work on an Ocean Act was in progress and a draft Oceans Bill would be ready in 2015. “The Oceans Act will provide a clear foundation for marine spatial planning,” he said.

The marine transport work stream has developed 18 initiatives across three categories, including infrastructure and operations, skills and capacity building as well as market growth to accelerate sector growth.

President Zuma said the initiatives would expand the South African port capacity for repair work for oil ships and oil rigs.

Another target included increasing the amount of minerals exported on South African ships, which would create more than 4 000 direct jobs.

President Zuma said some of the progress made included the process of establishing a National Shipping Company in partnership with South Korea.

He said Operation Phakisa represented a new spirit of moving faster in achieving a growth target of five per cent by 2019.

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