Change the world

Ocean Sciences

05/10/2018

This article appeared in The Herald of 5 October 2018 writen by Athena O’Reilly 
oreillya@tisoblackstar.co.za

The Nelson Mandela University Business School has opened its doors to create a platform to find trade opportunities in the blue ocean economy.

Much touted as a potentially beneficial sector, the oceans industry is one of the government’s new selling points as an emerging growth node, especially for small businesses.

The Business School hosted its first seminar on Thursday to explore economic opportunities available at sea.

Business School director Dr Randall Jonas said: “This is a first for the Eastern Cape where we look at business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

“Our strategy as the Business School is to grow an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and the blue economy is but one of the areas we are trying to look at to build entrepreneurial enterprise in various sectors.

“Our core purpose is to create platforms for intellectual discussions based on academic research.

“[It is] to look at ways to bring information into the public sphere and it is through knowledge that people become empowered.

“Our philosophy is to encourage a narrative of broadening the base of economic and social prosperity.

“This is done through business for the common good and by bringing all sorts of businesses into this new blue economy, we are making them real participants, real creators of wealth instead of being contributors to a smaller, exclusive group.” Jonas warned that environmental sustainability was a key factor in trade.

“As we are all excited about going into the ocean economy, we need to be responsible and do it in a sustainable manner,” he said.

“As much as we are seeing an opportunity for wealth creation and broadening the base of economic participation, we must not be irresponsible.

“I warned that while we will be extracting a lot of things from the ocean, minerals and oils, if we kill the ocean we will lose it and our [environment] will be doomed.”

South African International Maritime Institute director Odwa Mtati said: “This allows for opportunities for the general public and smaller businesses to get involved.

“It is important to ensure that people in the Bay grow this sector and build a diverse set of skills.

“From where we are now as a strong automotive-driven region, we must transfer those strong skills set to the ocean economy. It would be great for transformation.”

Peter Myles, an international tourism consultant and a panellist at the workshop, said a sure way to increase the attractiveness of coastal cities for tourists would be to create a marina in the port.

“This would create many opportunities,” Myles said.

“Different sports like yachting would attract people to the port like in Cape Town, where the marina has become a place for socialising and also creates a space for yachts and smaller boats to charter, creating a strong maritime flavour.”

Contact information
Mr Randolph Jonas
CEO: East Cape Training Centre (NMMU Convocation)