Bernard Gitau @benagitau
With over 10 Heads of State expected to grace 2018 Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya will again be in a position to leverage opportunities of hosting such high-level meeting.
The conference takes place from November 26 to 28 and 160 nations are participating. According to the conference director-general Benson Ogutu (pictured), preparation for the Sh800 million global event is complete.
“We got overwhelming support from our co-hosts and sponsors in our Sh800 million budget. A donation of Sh200 million is categorised as a co-host while below that are co-sponsors,” he said. The forum which Ogutu described as timely in addressing under-exploitation of Africa’s blue economy will be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.
Ogutu said eight out of 54 countries in Africa are either sea or ocean facing but in only 21.2 per cent have shipyard or shipping lines, yet the continent relies almost 100 per cent on what it does trade-wise in the sea or waters.
The conference comes at the time Kenya is prioritising the blue economy as the seventh sector to drive the achievement of Vision 2030 development agenda and will have a business and private symposia, science and research and governors conventions among others.
The theme will be “Investing in the blue economy; promoting responsible cities”. Under exploitation of the blue economy in Kenya is real in Lake Victoria, Indian Ocean, Lake Turkana among other water bodies in the country.
Meanwhile, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) says in 2013, marine fishing had an annual fish potential of 350,000 tonnes yet a paltry 9,134 tonnes were harvested.
The 350,000 tonnes, it adds was worth a whopping Sh90 billion but only Sh2.3 billion was absorbed in the economy from the 9,134 tonnes.