It’s Oceans Week at the V&A Waterfront

Between the launch of BlueCape and  Oceanhub Africa’s international summit, oceans are top of mind

Situated as we are right near the southern tip of our incredible continent, Cape Town is surrounded by the tremendous biodiversity of three ocean basins. We recognise both the privilege and the responsibility of this, and have committed to work towards identifying, growing, protecting, respecting and using our marine resources. The ecosystems of the V&A Waterfront – all our commercial, industrial, retail and recreational ocean activities – are in a uniquely strategic position to merge positive socio-economic and environmental impacts right here.

The Waterfront is therefore pleased to join other founding members today to launch an initiative focused on building the ocean economy. The initiative is BlueCape, and we’ve partnered with the City of Cape Town and some of our tenants to form a grouping focused on looking at the ocean economy through the lens of a quadruple bottom line:

  • The sustainable use of ocean resources to secure improved livelihoods,
  • Increased skills and employment opportunities,
  • Increased economic growth, and
  • Preserving the health and heritage of the ocean ecosystem.

These goals are a perfect fit with the Waterfront’s Shared Value Ecosystem strategy which seeks to promote sustainability, opportunity and inclusiveness. Moreover, all areas of the Ocean Economy as structured in the government’s Project Phakisa are located at the Waterfront. This includes fishing, marine transport and manufacturing, research, technology, innovation, skills development, and coastal and marine tourism, including sports.

BlueCape is putting a special focus on areas that we believe will help to drive the economy, and which are anyway close to the hearts of many of us at the Waterfront: marine manufacturing, superyachts and ocean sports. We’ve already shown our commitment in these spaces: BlueCape is about expanding that commitment, and collaborating in a multi-stakeholder way with others who share our commitment. We’ll be playing a strong advocacy role, bringing together local, regional and international people and businesses to amplify the work that all of us doing, for the greater good of the oceans.

The Waterfront is also home to Africa’s first Ocean Innovation Hub, Oceanhub Africa (OHA).  OHA’s focus is on creating and driving ocean-minded innovation; and this week, the eyes of the world were on us as OHA held its first global event, Africa’s Innovation Summit.

OceanHub Africa is about collaboration and connecting innovators – connecting impact ideas with technology input and supporting this with business guidance and acceleration programmes for a quicker turnaround for implementing sustainable ocean innovation. These innovations may be in the space of coastal and marine tourism, marine transport and manufacturing, marine protection and governance, mariculture, and even small harbour development. The summit brought this work together with global inspiration and vision around these blue economy activities; and the hope is for future, ongoing collaborations to amplify the impact of our work.

The line-up of speakers at the summit included Paul Holthus, president and CEO of the US-based World Oceans Council; and some of the entrepreneurs who are doing exciting work in the oceans space: Sara Andreotti from Sharksafe Barrier; Marius Hugo from MeanSeaLevel; and Tonye Membere-Otaji from MVXchange. Follow the links if you’re as excited as we are about innovation that drives sustainability. The partners in Oceanhub Africa’s summit were Dassault Systems, Wesgro, the City of Cape Town and the French Embassy.