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Spanish ambassador enhances Nigeria-Spain relations, focusing on blue economy

By Faridat Salifu

The Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola, received the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, for an in-depth discussion on key issues related to the blue economy, fisheries, and innovations in Nigeria’s ports.

The meeting, held on Wednesday evening, focused on areas of mutual interest and collaboration between the two nations.

Ambassador Sell emphasized Spain’s extensive expertise in combating illegal fishing and underscored the importance of international cooperation in addressing this global challenge.

He expressed his appreciation to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for establishing the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, recognizing it as a pivotal step towards enhancing Nigeria’s maritime sector.

“I commend President Tinubu for his vision in creating this ministry, which is essential for sustainable development in the marine and blue economy sectors,” Sell stated.

“Spain has a wealth of experience in tackling illegal fishing, and we are eager to share our knowledge and collaborate with Nigeria to strengthen its efforts in this area.”

The discussions also highlighted Spain’s advancements in port technology and management, areas where Nigeria stands to benefit significantly.

Ambassador Sell praised Minister Oyetola for his leadership and proactive approach in driving the ministry’s objectives, noting the potential for substantial improvements in Nigeria’s port operations through the adoption of innovative practices and technologies.

Minister Oyetola acknowledged the ambassador’s commendation and reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to leveraging international partnerships to enhance its maritime capabilities.

“We are dedicated to transforming our blue economy and fisheries sectors through strategic collaborations and the implementation of cutting-edge technologies,” Oyetola said. “Spain’s expertise in these fields will be invaluable as we work towards achieving our goals.”

The minister and ambassador discussed various strategies to bolster the blue economy, including the development of sustainable fishing practices, the promotion of aquaculture, and the integration of advanced monitoring systems to prevent illegal fishing activities.

They also explored opportunities for investment in port infrastructure and the potential for knowledge exchange programs to build capacity within Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Ambassador Sell highlighted several successful initiatives in Spain that could serve as models for Nigeria, including comprehensive tracking systems for fishing vessels and advanced data analytics tools used to monitor and manage marine resources effectively.

“By adopting similar measures, Nigeria can significantly enhance its ability to protect marine biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of its fisheries,” Sell noted.

The meeting concluded with a shared commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and fostering a collaborative approach to addressing common challenges in the blue economy.

Both parties expressed optimism about the prospects of their partnership and agreed to continue engaging in regular dialogues to advance their shared objectives.

As Nigeria continues to prioritize the development of its maritime sector, the collaboration with Spain is poised to play a crucial role in achieving sustainable economic growth and environmental conservation.

The Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, under Minister Oyetola’s leadership, is set to drive forward initiatives that will enhance Nigeria’s maritime infrastructure, promote sustainable practices, and create new opportunities for economic development.

The visit of Ambassador Sell marks a significant step in the deepening of Nigeria-Spain relations, with a focus on leveraging Spain’s expertise to support Nigeria’s aspirations in the blue economy and beyond.

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