Marine research key to Blue Economy for Nam

01 Oct 2016 12:10pm
By Paulis Shiku

HENTIES BAY, 01 OCT (NAMPA) - Scientific research on Namibia’s natural resources is the key to a Blue Economy, which will mean growth for the economy, Dr Samuel Mafwila says.
A Blue Economy refers to marine-based economic development that leads to improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
It is the full exploitation of all resources backed by scientific facts, instead of focusing on only a few resources.
Mafwila, the director of the University of Namibia’s Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre (SANUMARC) at Henties Bay told Nampa on Thursday that Namibia need to stop focusing on fish and diamonds only.
“We have a lot of other resources we can survive on such as gas, marine phosphate and tourism,” he said.
Mafwila is of the opinion that not enough marine and other resources are harvested or mined due to “a fear of the unknown”.
He said research can solve this problem as it provides all the answers needed for informed decision-making, adding that Namibians “have a tendency to object to new ideas simply because they do not have enough information”.
“Research findings can be used for policy formulation so that we are able to derive benefits from all our resources. There is a lot in the sea, so as a country we must strengthen research.”
Mafwila went on to say the research centre faces challenges in communicating findings due to the scientific terms used.
“We mostly communicate in scientific terms which is not understood by everyone. It is therefore the duty of the media to simplify these terms and make Namibians understand.”
He said it will be beneficial to the local economy if people are well informed about available resources and how they can safely access these resources.
The Sam Nujoma campus houses both SANUMARC and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.
SANUMARC is a fully-fledged multidisciplinary research centre of the University of Namibia with the mandate to promote research and development activities in the field of marine science and coastal resources.
The centre serves Namibia through promoting research and development activities in the field of marine and coastal resources, taking into consideration the unique comparative and competitive advantage of the Benguela cold Current ecosystem.
Research activities at the centre are geared towards developing the fisheries and agriculture sectors, and complements what is done by the Ministries of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Agriculture, Water and Forestry.