Several government agencies have called for the establishment of a fully-fledged ministry in charge of the Blue Economy to enable the country to fully harness the benefits of the marine environment.
The Blue Economy relates to the exploitation, preservation and regeneration of the marine environment. It also refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic livelihoods and jobs, and ecosystem health.
“The potential to boost the national economy by harnessing the vast resources from the Blue Economy is great. The Blue Economy has the potential to contribute 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), can fully support a workforce of more than 200,000 people, and generate an estimated Sh400 billion in revenue every year,” Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Mr Anthony Muchiri said.
Mr Muchiri, speaking at the stakeholders’ meeting at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel in Mombasa yesterday, supported the idea of creating a ministry in charge of the Blue Economy.
Also in attendance at the meeting dubbed Blue Economy Sensitisation Forum were officials from the State Department of Shipping and Maritime Affairs and Bandari Maritime Academy.
“I am of the view that such a ministry would be critical as it will help steer the country as we strive to tap into the various resources under the ocean waters, in rivers and lakes,” Mr Muchiri said.
Kenya has identified several key sectors under the Blue Economy that, once utilised, could turn around the fortunes of the coastal residents. These sectors include fisheries and aquaculture, maritime transport, logistic services, tourism and culture, and extractive industries in oil and gas, minerals, and energy.
“Everything Blue Economy is doable. We continue engaging with the State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs and other key stakeholders for increased human resource capacity, which is a key driver in achieving positive results,” Mr Muchiri said.
Shipping and Maritime Affairs PS Dr Nancy Karigithu said: “We thank President Uhuru Kenyatta and his administration for the support they have given the maritime sector even as it works towards the full revival of both maritime and the seafaring sector.
“We have made several strides in trying to reposition the country as a top maritime destination. We were doing well in the past but it reached a time we turned our backs to the ocean and went green. We turned our backs to the sea and looked inwards but things are changing,” Dr Karigithu said.