Growing the Oceans Economy and Tourism

The President stated in his State of the Nation Address in February 2016 that “a resilient and fast-growing economy is at the heart of radical transformation agenda and our National Development Plan (NDP)”.

The NDP enjoins us to create a better life for all citizens in an inclusive society. It guides on this journey towards Vision 2030, as it aims to transform systemic and underlying conditions that impact negatively on national growth and development.

Growing the Oceans Economy and Tourism is a critical pillar of the Nine-Point Plan, informed by the untapped potential of our oceans, which can contribute to economic growth. Growing the oceans economy and tourism provides tremendous opportunities for economic growth and job creation.

South Africa has the opportunity to boost this contribution considerably, leveraging its rich marine resources in a sustainable manner to boost both economic and social development.

South Africa is surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With the inclusion of Prince Edward and Marion Islands, its coastline is some 3 900 kilometres long.

The future potential of the ocean economy is highly concentrated within four new growth focus areas and the objective is to provide tremendous opportunities for economic growth and create many jobs.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), together with other key departments such as Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Transport, Energy, Mineral Resources and Public Enterprises, initiated the Oceans Economy Labs as part of Operation Phakisa.

Operation Phakisa: Unlocking the Economic Potential of South Africa’s Oceans focuses on six priority potential growth areas (Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Aquaculture, Marine Protection Services and Ocean Governance, Small Harbours Development, Coastal and Marine Tourism) that have significant GDP growth and job creation potential.

Operation Phakisa will deliver on some of the aspirations of the National Development Plan 2030 which have been championed at every level of government and society.

South Africa is targeting the Oceans Economy as it is one of the key drivers in the Nine-Point Plan to grow the economy, create jobs, transform the economy and attract investment.

South Africa’s work to grow the Oceans Economy is making strong progress. The plans to upgrade of the country’s major ports are at an advanced stage. These upgrades will facilitate the efficient operation of ports and attract boat manufacturers.

The oceans economy initiatives will focus on four prioritised areas:

  • Marine Transport and Manufacturing;
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration;
  • Coastal and Marine Tourism
  • Marine Aquaculture; and
  • Marine Protection and Ocean Governance.

South Africa is ideally situated to advance the Oceans Economy. It is bordered by the ocean on three sides and has a coastline of approximately 3 924 kilometres. In 2010, the oceans economy contributed about R54 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounted for approximately 316 000 jobs.

Government aims to balance the economic opportunities afforded by our oceans with the stringent protection of our marine biodiversity and resources. The country is committed to the principles of sustainable development.

Through the proposed Marine Spatial Planning Legislation, we will ensure a more coordinated and sustainable use of the ocean. It will also allow us to guard against illegal activities within the ocean space.