Indonesia keen to help Kenya solve hyacinth menace

Tom Osanjo

The Indonesian government is keen on helping Kenya solve hyacinth menace in Lake Victoria, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs has disclosed.

“Plans are at an advanced stage and we will soon be inviting the Indonesians who have shown interest in having the weed turned into commercial use,” said Eliphas Barine, a director in the ministry while addressing about 200 youths drawn from all over the world for the Youth Blue Economy conference held at the UN Nairobi office in Gigiri. He was responding to concerns raised by one of the participants who wondered whether the government had abandoned Lake Victoria fishermen as the weed rendered them – majority of whom are young people – jobless and destitute.

Under the theme of “Enhancing Youth Participation and Access to Opportunities in the Blue Economy” – the event was held under the auspices of  UN-Habitat, the Canadian High Commission in Kenya and Youth Congress.

Addressing the meeting, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Executive Director  Maimunah Moh’d Sharif called on governments and city leaders to make inclusive plans in order to provide sustainable employment opportunities and safe work environments for youth engaged in blue economy.

She assured young people and partners at the conference that “UN-Habitat stands ready to receive innovative ideas from young people and looks forward to the opportunity to work with youth on galvanising the full and sustainable potential of the blue economy.” Principal Secretary for Public Service and Youth Affairs Francis Owino said blue economy offers an opportunity for countries to engage young people as active participants in diversifying revenue generation strategies to achieve a stronger and sustainable economic urban growth.

Elizabeth Marami, Kenya’s First Female Marine Pilot challenged young people to have an open mind to explore the blue economy, 

“Young people must open their minds to tap the blue economy. There are many career opportunities not limited to marine biotechnology, harvesting and processing of sea food, extraction of non-living resources such as seabed mining, ships engineering, piloting, communications and generation of new resources like energy and fresh water,” she said.

According to a Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) report, over 50 per cent of the world’s population lives within three kilometre of a water body, and in the developing world, majority of this population are unemployed young men and women.

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