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Kenya bets on ‘blue economy’ for growth

Kenya’s inability to tap the multi-billion-shilling blue economy has meant the sector has been greatly underutilised with most recent research estimating the country lost at least Sh88 billion due to under exploitation of “Blue Economy” especially the Marine fishing.

According to the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) in 2013, marine fishing had an annual fish potential of 350,000 tonnes yet a paltry 9,134 tonnes were harvested. Kippra noted that the 350,000 tonnes was worth a whopping Sh90 billion but only Sh2.3 billion was absorbed in the economy from 9,134 tonnes.

“The full economic potential of marine resources has not been exploited, yet Kenya has a maritime territory of 230,000 square kilometres and a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore,” Kippra said. It is noted that illegal fishing is estimated to deny the country revenue estimated at Sh10 billion annually. This could change soon with Kenya preparing to host Blue Economy Conference which will deepen Kenya’s understanding of the sector.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau has termed the event an immense opportunity for the growth of the economy as the country diversifies sources of growth by prioritising the blue economy.

“The economy sectors include; fisheries, tourism, maritime transport, offshore mining, among others, in a way that the land economy has failed to do,” he said.

Macharia was speaking during a briefing with Council of Governors (CoG) led by the chair Joseph Nanok on the preparation of the conference to be held from November 26 to 28.