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The Role of Youth in Developing Africa’s Blue Economy

“Blue” resources linked to Africa’s extensive aquatic bodies are core to the continent’s economic growth and will continue to be a crucial driver for strategic development of the national economies. The commitment to develop Africa’s blue economy is demonstrated in the various national and regional strategy documents including: Africa's Blue Economy: A policy handbook; Africa Blue Economy Strategy and its Implementation Plan (2021 – 2025); and various country-level blue economy strategies. The next generation of young maritime leaders will play an important role in driving innovation and change as the continent strives for socio-economic advancement through a vibrant blue economy.


To be able to truly transform Africa’s ocean economy, we need a future workforce that is more digitized, innovative and diverse, and that requires actively employing and leveraging on the unique skills of Africa’s youth today. The revitalization of existing ocean sectors and the industrialization of emerging ones have highlighted the great need for cooperation towards technology and innovation transition.


In a post-COVID era, youth bear great potential to contribute to the: co-creation of international frameworks and guidelines to protect the blue environment; investment in innovation, technologies and human capital for developing ocean sectors; actions geared towards effective biodiversity and environmental conservation as well as mitigation of the effects of climate change; shaping of national visions for sustainable blue economy; enhancement of entrepreneurship within the blue economy; and provision of maritime domain awareness solutions to improve monitoring, control and surveillance of activities in the blue space.


Creating a viable platform for youth to engage in Africa’s blue economy trajectory has been at the heart of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute’s Blue Mentorship Program.

GoGMI’s Youth Engagement in Africa’s Blue Economy Trajectory

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In November 2021, the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) held its flagship Blue Career and Business Expo (BCBE) as a response to concerns raised at a stakeholder forum organized by the Institute in 2020 to deliberate on the topic, ‘Gender mainstreaming in Ghana’s maritime sector’. At this forum, participants highlighted that most Ghanaian youth have limited knowledge and appreciation of the ocean’s significance to the national economy, and fail to recognise the need to be part of providing the needed solutions to promote its sustainable development. The under-representation of females in the maritime sector, despite efforts put in place to put them at par with their male counterparts in the sector, was also echoed. Participants further indicated the need to increase young people’s knowledge on the opportunities available to them in the maritime sector, in terms of career development.


BCBE thus created multi-opportunity exchange platforms for young people to learn from maritime industry leaders across the country and to gain an appreciation of the range of opportunities within Ghana’s blue economy sectors. The Expo was attended by over 200 individuals, including high profile personalities, maritime industry practitioners, students and other relevant stakeholders. The BCBE was not meant to be a single event, but rather, the first in a series of events aimed at actively engaging African youth in the path towards building a resilient blue economy for the continent.


As intended, the BCBE was used to initiate a Mentorship Programme for which several of the participating youth showed interest. This year, GoGMI intends to go a step further by selecting thirty young individuals to be engaged in its Blue Mentorship Programme – a full mentorship and grooming experience intended to prime them for blue success.


The Blue Mentorship Programme is an African maritime accelerator intended to encourage youth to engage in sustainable blue economy careers and to offer them support through their business, entrepreneurial or career progression journey. The entire programme is intended to have the following impacts:

Serve as an incubation hub for blue economy start-ups

Provide learning and support for youth through their career, entrepreneurial or business journey

Facilitate youth engagement with corporate and industry partners who are passionate about innovation, diversity and inclusion of young minds in the development of Africa’s blue economy

Provide youth with access to maritime industry mentorship, support services, educational and networking events, while keeping them updated on the latest new, developments and engagements in Africa’s blue economy community

Beyond mentorship, the programme aims to achieve this by offering a wide range of curated platforms for young people who have an interest in maritime careers or businesses to meet, share and collaborate on different fronts while expanding their skill-set and knowledge base

Blue Mentorship Programme Thematic Areas:


Maritime Safety & Security


Renewable & Non-renewable energy


Fisheries & Aquaculture


Shipping & Maritime Trade


Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change


Maritime Tourism


Academia & Research


Ocean Govenrance



Beyond the Blue Mentorship Programme, GoGMI aims to expand its engagement with youth to develop a Maritime Business Incubator (MBI) which will, through a combination of progammes, partner with global maritime industry and practitioners to provide solutions and resources to improve career and business connections and financing for innovations in blue start-ups and entrepreneurial activities in the Gulf of Guinea region. The Incubator will achieve this by offering a wide range of curated platforms for young people, entrepreneurs and business men and women who have an interest in a maritime career or business to meet, share and collaborate on different projects and activities while developing skills and knowledge using extensive resource hubs and directories.


Through the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute and partners network, individuals who are interested in starting a blue business or have plans to build their career in any blue economy sector can learn and find support throughout the lifespan of their business, career and entrepreneurial journey.


The MBI will also collaborate with academia to develop collaborative research networks across the sub region dedicated to enhancing indigenous understanding of Africa’s blue economy sectors and publish the ideas that address how to best identify, nurture, and develop careers and businesses in a publicly accessible collection. Private sector will be involved in the Incubator’s programmes to help bring about an innovative spirit of change for young entrepreneurs and the Gulf of Guinea region blue economy business community.







Maritime Innovation


Networking and Knowledge-Sharing


Blue Human Capital Innovation

The Incubator’s networking events will bring together young minds who have interests in different blue economy careers and businesses on common platforms including conferences, boardrooms, workshops, policy-making councils, roundtables, fireside chats, etc. These networks will then connect young minds with lifelong relationships, pairing them with corporate and industry members and providing them the opportunity to have discourses on careers and businesses to better analyse and find solutions to challenging issues these young people face. The MBI will also feature a Maritime Data Hub which will serve as a one-stop data repository for the development and test-bedding of new digital applications and services for the maritime industry, and a community journal which will feature relevant community blog posts and articles aimed at enhancing knowledge and information sharing

GoGMI is reaching out to all maritime stakeholders and businesses with interest in building a robust blue economy for Africa to support the Program via three different pathways:


Expertise Partnership

Expertise partners to the program contribute by granting requisite advice and technical knowledge to the GoGMI team in the course of the program. More importantly, expertise partners will provide a pool of skilled and highly accomplished individuals across the continent’s blue economy sectors who will serve as mentors.


Financial Partnership

Financial partners will contribute by:

• Directly funding specific activities or elements of the programme e.g., data services, virtual platform services, etc.

• Providing a lump sum in support of the entire programme as detailed in the concept note attached.

• Making recurrent donations to ensure continuity of activities under the programme. 


Media Partnership

Media partners will contribute to the program by publicizing the program’s activities such as the launch, Blue Success Speaker Series (BLUESSS), the Blue Economy Innovation Challenge, etc

You are welcome to apply for the Blue Mentorship Programme today!

Are you - or is someone you know - a young person aged 18-30 that is passionate about innovation, diversity and inclusion in the development of Africa’s blue economy or looking for support through their business, entrepreneurial or career progression journey? Why not apply to join the Blue Mentorship Programme?

Participants of Blue Mentorship Programme have the opportunity to:

  1. Contribute to articles on the mentorship programme webpage;

  2. Take part in our mentorship events;

  3. Learn about Africa’s maritime and blue economy affairs from Gulf of Guinea experts;

  4. Meet other young people from Africa who are interested in Africa’s blue economy development;

  5. Get your innovative ideas heard by key people in African governments and international organizations;

  6. Develop your knowledge, career and business development skills.

Selection Guidelines and Eligibility

Applications are open for undergraduate students, graduate students, students in higher-level vocational training and young industry professionals.

Note: Under-represented or marginalized groups, including females and young people in coastal communities are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must be/have: 

  1. Aged between 18 and 30 years old and currently living in an African country;

  2. Good working knowledge of English, French or Portuguese;

  3. Passionate, engaged and active in their local community.



Applications should be sent no later than 5th September, 2022.

Applicants will be notified about their application outcome within a week of the application closing date.

 Why You Should Apply 

  1. Rare opportunity to network with maritime industry leaders across the African region and to gain deeper understanding of the range of opportunities within the region’s blue economy sectors


  2. Opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from successful blue economy entrepreneurs and ocean innovators to guide individual’s blue career and entrepreneurship pursuits

  3. Immense prospects to build on lessons learned to generate and expand on sustainable blue economy ideas, and receive business support through a year-long Maritime Business Incubator

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