Sh3.5b EU grant to promote blue economy, tourism at the Coast
COAST | By Philip Mwakio | November 26th 2021
Entrepreneurs in the six coastal counties are set to benefit from a Sh3.5 billion grant by European Union (EU) in a plan aimed at boosting blue economy and tourism.
The funds that will be given through the regional economic bloc, Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), will also be used to promote cultural heritage, officials said.
Consequently, JKP Chief Executive Emmanuel Nzai has invited entrepreneurs and targeted organisations from the six counties – Taita Taveta, Kwale, Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi and Tana River – to submit applications and proposals for the grants.
"The 'Go Blue' project has three components of skills and value chain, fisheries and agriculture, and cultural and heritage tourism projects, which will be funded to the tune of Sh788 million," said Nzai during a meeting with small-scale traders at the Technical University of Mombasa yesterday.
"At least 10,000 youth and women are expected to be enrolled in income-generating activities in 12 areas of the blue economy while ensuring some 10,000 hectares of the coastal ecosystem are protected. These include another 10,000 hectares of vulnerable land-sea."
Nzai said eight innovative projects related to land-sea planning, through Jumuiya Innovative Clubs, will be established. Two public spaces will be built in Kilifi and Mombasa and one blue carbon project, covering 1,000 hectares of mangrove land, established in Lamu.
The plan will also include upgrading two solid waste collection and recycling facilities in Taita Taveta while one fish landing site will be constructed in Mombasa.
The Maritime Go Blue component aims at enhancing maritime governance through integrated and effective maritime law enforcement, hence, contributing to regional and global security and creating a favourable environment for economic development.
Portuguese Ambassador to Kenya Luísa Fragoso, who presided over the launch of projects supported by her country under the Go Blue programme, said the initiative will spur the economy and create many jobs.
"Portugal, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other EU partners, seeks to support the country’s efforts to unlock untapped marine resources," the envoy said.
Comoes Cooperacao Portuguesa (Portuguese International Cooperation) Project Manager Paulina Oliveira said the tourism and culture heritage project they are supporting has been divided into two: The first targets civil society while the second is designed for public and private sector organisations.
“We want to create employment opportunities and also stimulate skills and value chains across sectors in tourism and cultural heritage in the Coast region,” said Oliveira.
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