The development of coastal areas in Africa has become a major concern for most leaders of the continent. This is exacerbated by the nexus of rural-urban migration amidst the existence of myriad opportunities within the coasts of many nations bounded by the ocean. These areas are believed to house about a third of populations within the region, hence, the Centre for Coastal Management (CCM) at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), as part of its core mandates is working closely with local and international partners in the areas of research and capacity building towards an accelerated development of the coasts of West Africa and beyond. Through the World Bank ACE Impact III, the Centre is now the Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience (ACECoR).
Since its establishment, the CCM, together with its parent Department, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at UCC, has continuously sought to forge significant partnerships for the achievement of its strategic objectives. In this light, a team from the Centre and the DFAS-UCC paid a working visit to the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) at the University of Bremen, Germany from the 1-10th February, 2020. The purpose of the visit was to forge scientific and technical cooperation with ZMT to advance the goals and objectives of the new ACECoR Project at CCM. This was part of the DFAS’ programmatic activities aimed at operationalizing CCM by strengthening partnerships under the 5-year USAID-funded Fisheries and Coastal Management Capacity Building Support Project. It was also the intention to use the opportunity to develop scientific and technological community of practice with European partners from relevant marine disciplines for the co-design and co-production of knowledge that will engage with policymakers, business, industry and other stakeholders within the coastal and marine sectors.
The interactions by both parties from the Universities of Cape Coast and Bremen respectively, led to the creation of a draft memorandum of agreement (MoA) which covers collaborative activities relative to student exchanges, visiting scholars program, joint research, joint proposal writing, promotion of the use of environmental and laboratory safety protocols, joint use of research facilities and the creation of new extension networks with Future Earth Coasts, an international initiative at the ZMT dedicated to transformation towards more sustainable and resilient future for society and nature on the coast. The meetings also discussed strengthening of alumni relations at ZMT. The trip was also used to explore collaborative initiatives with the Lighthouse Foundation, a development agency based in Hamburg focused on marine and coastal conservation.
The visit was led by Prof. Denis W. Aheto, Director of the Centre for Coastal Management. Other members of the delegation were Dr. Noble Asare, Head of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Dr. Precious Mattah, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre and Dr. Benjamin Campion, a consultant to the Centre.