STAKEHOLDERS in India Ocean RIM Association (IORA) started a four-day meeting here on Monday, as a way to better position Tanzania in the regional cooperation for social and economic benefits with focus on the blue economy being drummed by top leaders.
Participants, most of them senior officers, attending the meeting held at the ‘ZURA Functions Hall’ are drawn from different public sectors from both Union and Zanzibar governments. They discuss different topics on blue economy which includes benefits to development, environmental conservation, deep sea fishing, investment opportunities and policies.
In his brief speech at the opening of the conference, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Joseph Sokoine said the meeting was important at the time when reforms of the IORA working groups are required and good coordination for better results.
“We need to improve our work as we implement and put into action plans about the blue economy. President Hussein Mwinyi has been talking repeatedly about it. We need to move forward,” Mr Sokonie said in presence of Dr Aboud Suleiman Jumbe- PS Zanzibar’s Ministry of Blue Economy and Fisheries.
He mentioned priorities and focus areas of the IORA as Maritime Safety and Security; Trade and Investment Facilitation; Fisheries Management; Disaster Risk Management; Tourism and Cultural Exchanges; Academic, Science and Technology; Blue Economy and Women’s Economic Empowerment
Ambassador Agnes Kayola - Director, Department of Regional Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation said there are opportunities in the IORA formed in 1997 with the objective of promoting trade and economic cooperation among the countries which share the Indian Ocean waters.
“IORA comprises 23 member states and nine dialogue partners. This is an opportunity for us, but since its inception, Tanzania had never contested for any leadership/management position of IORA. It is high time we find a competent Tanzanian and seconded by the state, to vie for vacant positions to be announced later this year,” Ms Kayola said.
Ambassador Masoud Balozi – The Director, Department of Foreign Affairs of Zanzibar said the meeting is an opportunity to deliberate on five components of Zanzibar’s blue economy (sea tourism, seaweed farming, seaports development, Oil and Gas, and fishing).