Greenport Marowijne and the Moengo Science Park
Greenport Marowijne is a concept first developed by the foundation SOIL Masonkondre and the TU Delft and in a later phase of its development contributions were made by the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and the AdeK (University of Surinam). Greenport Marowijne is focused on the development of the district of Marowijne (in Suriname) as an instrument of transition from the mining economy to a more diverse and green and sustainable economy, entailing agriculture and food, eco-tourism and the creative sector, and supported by technology, very often by ‘frugal’ technology (‘frugal innovation’). For about 100 years the mining industry and therefore the mining economy formed the base for most of the economic activities and development in Marowijne and more specifically that of the village (small city) Moengo. Almost all well-payd jobs in Moengo were provided by the Suralco, the daughter company of the American mining company, Alcoa. In 2015 the Suralco left because of the depletion of the mines, leaving a situation behind with high employment, with no educational institution to provide qualified workers for the market and no real future. And there are no prospects that an employer of the same magnitude for the region will show up. After different studies and analyses and based on the strengths of and opportunities for the region, the concept of SURE (Sustainable Rural Entrepreneurship) was developed by SOIL Masonkondre and the TU Delft to achieve SURED (Sustainable Rural Economic Development). SURE is based on entrepreneurship with a focus on the Marowijne region. Because of the opportunities for agriculture and food, it was based on agri-entrepreneurship along the whole chain of agriculture, which has to be the cornerstone of the local development in Marowijne: Greenport Marowijne.
In conversations with the University of Antwerp and the University of Suriname (AdeK) to partner at the development of Marowijne, their method Plan4Cure, was introduced and merged into the concept of Greenport Marowijne. The Plan4Cure approach for development to SURED (Sustainable Rural Economic Development) is based on the built environment and eco-tourism. Later also the creative sector was added as the third component (besides SURE and Plan4Cure) of Greenport Marowijne, because of the dormant talents in Marowijne, which must be further developed yet. The creative economy is the sector where individuals are using their imagination and exploiting the economic value of their imagination in areas such as music, film, art, publishing, involving patents, copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property.
Components of SURE and Plan 4Cure
a. SURE: agri and food
SURE focuses on entrepreneurship in agriculture and food and the idea is that it must be technology-driven. There are four subsectors in the agri-sector: primary, secondary, tertiary, and the quaternary sector. All sub-sectors must be business-driven, entrepreneurial to create added value that people want to pay for. The sectors are formed by businesses. In the quaternary sector government takes part by providing services and goods to facilitate the other sectors. To develop the agri and food sector in order to obtain the same level as the mining sector in the past, goods must be exported as was the case with bauxite
One of the opportunities for the Marowijne region is that it is located on the top of the continent, with a direct link to a country such as Brazil, French Guiana etc. It is therefore placed in the position to function as a transit-port (logistic hub) for the storage and transport of goods through the air or sea and delivered through to Brazil and other Latin American countries. There are ideas to develop a logistic hub as part of the Moengo Science Park.
b. Plan4Cure: built environment
Plan4Cure focusses on the built environment of Moengo. That can be old buildings or other aspects which represent the heritage of the local population in Marowijne. It is also focused on the design or redesign of the environment of the city Moengo and all the villages in the surroundings that can be turned into ‘living places and spaces’ or eco-tourism facilities.
c. SURE/Plan4Cure: creative economy
The approach of the creative economy is not attached to either SURE or Plan4Cure alone, but can be used in both approaches. Films, documentary, theater, design can be used in SURE as well as in Plan4Cure. IT is an important part of the creative economy and software apps can be developed for both approaches and areas.
And also, SURE and Plan4Cure are not closed areas, but they feed into each other.
Marowijne as Special Economic Zone (SEZ)
The idea behind Greenport Marowijne is to approach this region as a Special Economic Zone, in a comprehensive way. Because of the bauxite industry of the past 100 years a road infrastructure has been built and the whole region can be pretty much reached by land or by water because of the creeks and the Cottica-river. The idea of a logistic hub perfectly fits in the concept of Marowijne as SEZ. In the concept of the SEZ Marowijne a science park is needed to power the development of the region.
Moengo Science Park
The Moengo Science Park is an important part of Greenport Marowijne, the part that must drive the development of all the sectors: the agri and food economy, eco-tourism economy and the creative economy. It is the backbone of the system, the engine. It must provide business knowledge, content knowledge through research, and technology expertise for constantly innovating the system. Business, technology and science must be part of the Moengo Science Park.
The different organizations, universities, businesses and upstarts that will be part of the science park are focused on activities that can make it profitable. In the development of the Moengo Science Park the acquisition of the different participants, the financing of the project must be part of the process.
Nowadays sustainability is a very important part of every development and that is also the case for Greenport Marowijne. As in every development sustainable goals, approaches and methods are an integral part of its system. Technology must be sustainable and e.g. the use of energy and the side effects of it must be appraised.