Investment in maritime sector crucial for economic growth – Dr Jethro Brooks
Investment in the maritime sector is very crucial as it can be the panacea for the current economic challenges in Ghana and other countries, the Vice-Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University (RMU), Dr Jethro W. Brooks Jnr, has said.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Tuesday, he said, Ghana and other countries must take advantage of the numerous opportunities within the industry to boost economic growth.
“Almost 90 per cent of trade is being done by sea so it is very crucial to invest in the maritime sector as it is the next booming spot for employment across the world,” he stated.
Transfer of commodities from one country to the other, he said, would be hugely affected if there were challenges at sea since it had become the best form of transport and also required skilled personnel which Ghana could tap into to boost the economy.
He recalled that in March 2021, the Suez Canal in Egypt was blocked for six days by the Ever Given, a container ship that had run aground in the canal, and no ship could cross to anywhere within the period.
The 400-meter long (1,300 ft) 20,000 TEU vessel was buffeted by strong winds and ended up wedged across the waterway with its bow and stern stuck in the canal banks, blocking all traffic until it could be freed.
As one of the world’s busiest trade routes, the canal obstruction had negative impact on trade between Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“Within a week or two, there was shortage of commodities in different countries across the world. That is the impact of the sea as far as trade is concerned,” he stated.
Hence, he said Ghana must take advantage of the opportunities to invest in the maritime sector through maritime education to provide the knowledge and skills required for the sector.
Though there were some opportunities within other industries, he said the maritime field had over the years become the most attractive, lucrative and could help boost the economic growth of every country.
For example, he said the exchange of money from one account to the other between countries through the maritime sector could boost foreign exchange and the economy as a whole.
On employment, he said many countries were struggling to get jobs for their youth but the maritime sector could guarantee a ready market where personnel, especially the seafarers, were exported to various countries in return for hard currency.
“Government, perhaps, may not be looking at the sector but it is the easiest and surest way of boosting employment in any country, thereby training people within a short period of time and sending them out which would solve a good chunk of unemployment-related challenges in the country,” he stressed.
The Registrar for the RMU, Dr Baboucarr Njiere, emphasised that sea transport remained one of the cheapest, for that reason the vessels were usually used to transfer commodities instead of air which was more expensive.
The government, he said, must concentrate more on the maritime sector as a lot could be done, especially with employment of the youth and subsequently providing solutions to the current economic challenges
BY MICHAEL D. ABAYATEYE