Executive Director of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI), Dr. Alberta Ama Sagoe, has underscored the importance of involving the youth, particularly the girl child, in ongoing strategies to create a sustainable blue economy at the national level.
Speaking on Eye on Port, Dr. Alberta Ama Sagoe asserted that not only would a deliberate involvement of youth in plans for Ghana’s blue economy create a lasting legacy for the sector but would also go a long way to help curtail the major unemployment crisis in the country.
“This takes me back to when I was in school. I always had this question of what I was going to do after school. The first thing we think about is going to work at the port or go to sea, if he/she did marine engineering. After these two options, we struggle to find other options. For the females who are even conservative, the options are more limited,” she recounted.
“This should not be the case and it is my personal mission with the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute, to bring the young people on board. To ensure that the decisions are not only taken at the high level and imposed on them, but to have them involved,” Dr. Sagoe averred.
Lamenting the unemployment situation in the country, she called for support that would encourage the youth to take up opportunities in under-explored areas of the blue economy.
“There are many areas we overlook and do not consider as part of our entire maritime estate. There are endless opportunities. We can talk of inland water transportation. I want to see more investment into that area. Also, how we can make good use of these seaweed sargassum taking up our coast. Perhaps we can look at transforming them into fertilizer or for animal feed. We can also look at the production of shell-based materials form the shellfish we consume. We can create an industry for it,” Dr. Sagoe enumerated.
The Executive Director of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) expressed particular interest to see increased women employment within the maritime industry.
She said “a chunk of the women participation in the maritime industry are from the informal fisheries sector. Hardly would you find highly educated women are the helm of the fisheries sector. But this is a very important sector, socio-economically. So, it is my dream to see women take up managerial positions in the fisheries sector influencing decisions at every stage of the value chain.”
She encouraged students in maritime institutions to double the pace at which they take up internship opportunities to acquire practical skills for the industry before leaving school.
Likewise, Dr. Ama Sagoe also urged companies to collaborate with the maritime educational institutes for the provision of industry relevant skills that would position graduates for success in the industry.
Taking her turn on the subject, a student at the Regional Maritime University, Bridget Padikie Sylvester, bemoaned the limited internship opportunities at the disposal of the students in the maritime industry.
Ms. Padikie said, “when it is time for internships, most companies do not accept us, so it difficult to know the opportunities out there.”
She revealed that many of her colleagues are caught in the “job market after school conundrum” due to non-exposure.
Bridget Padikie, who has taken up a volunteering internship with the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute however did state that the experience has been fruitful, having participated in two conferences so far, giving her the opportunity to meet industry professionals.
She called for more of such in future for herself and colleagues all over the country to bridge the gap of non-exposure.
The Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI), previously a community of subregional maritime stakeholders on maritime safety and security, is now a research-driven, capacity building and advocacy group for the blue economy.
It was pivotal in the organisation of the recently held Blue Career and Business Expo in Accra, that linked industry experts and professionals to students in Ghana.