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First Published November 27, 2018
By Kennedy Kangethe
Speaking on the second day of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference on Tuesday President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the private sector and development partners to take advantage of the projects and invest in them.
“I encourage all of you to take advantage of the investments and business opportunities that our blue economy has to offer. I once again invite you to form partnerships with our Kenyan counterparts, and also take advantage of our improved business environment,” President Kenyatta told Investors and business leaders.
President Kenyatta says Kenya’s blue economy remains is largely untapped and has the potential to grow the economy and create millions of jobs for Kenyans.
He says the government will continue to play an enabling role in supporting investments in the blue economy sector through coming adopting policies favorable for investments in the blue economy sector.
“As a government we are here to support your initiatives we believe that there is great potential for that has huge returns that are available in Kenya, in our blue economy as well as other areas and we are here to support you to grow. We recognize that our role is facilitative while your role is to engage and do business that helps us create Jobs and prosperity,” he added.
He says its only through businesses working with governments that the country can realize the value of blue economy sectors, solve challenges and drive growth of new and innovative industries.
Africa has 38 coastal states, with a maritime zone of about 13 million square kilometers and lake zones covering about 240, 000 square kilometers.
Transboundary river basins are 64 percent of the continent’s land area.
Meanwhile, Maritime experts at the ongoing Sustainable Blue Economy Conference are of the view that the full economic potential of Kenya’s over 600 Square kilometre of coastal ocean and the inland waters remain largely untapped.
According to the Maritime Transport Report 2018 realizing Kenya’s Maritime potential requires the proper use of resources in the Maritime sector and the development of the right strategies for sustainable use in changing the livelihoods of Kenyans.
The report says the value of Kenyan waters need to be elevated and developed to support the transformation of the maritime sector and spur economic growth for the benefit of all.
On Monday, President Kenyatta pledged to adopt appropriate policies, strategies and mechanisms to harness the Blue Economy.
President Kenyatta also pledged to confront, head-on, the challenge of waste management and plastic pollution that is compromising Kenyan’s health and ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve the endangered species and high value fish stocks, on which millions of people depend for their livelihoods.
“On the basis of these imperatives, I pledge that in Kenya, I will lead from the front. First, as a government, we will take steps to build on and expand institutional governance mechanisms that are already in place to enhance coordinated management of the blue economy,” he said.
He said the country is taking measures to revive maritime transport, by building and expanding ports, and shipping facilities and partnering with global shipping lines to extend maritime reach.
Combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing will also be prioritised going forward.