Governments and donors pledged billions of shillings to implement outcomes of the first Blue Economy Conference that ended yesterday in Nairobi.
The conference, which brought together 16,320 delegates from across the world, saw countries commit to put aside money to protect oceans, seas, lakes and rivers and the ecosystems they support.
Kenya committed to establish a blue economy bank to support the growth and development of the sector.
The host also promised to ensure safety and security in the high seas so that global trade, connectivity and all businesses can thrive unhindered and unfettered.
President Uhuru Kenyatta committed to aggressively combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and take measures to enhance security and safety in the country’s waters.
On fisheries development, the President said he would ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve endangered species and high-value fish stocks.
“My administration will accelerate the development of our fisheries by increasing aquaculture, fish processing and storage capacities, and related blue economy industries, Uhuru said at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
Victory Farms Ltd East Africa promised to construct a hatchery to produce 10,000 metric tonnes of fish, which will make it sub-Sahara Africa’s largest tilapia hatchery next year.
Financial support amounting to 40 million Euros by the European Union and Africa Carribean Pacific countries was set aside to support aquaculture value chains in African countries.
Uhuru also promised to establish an African e-learning centre for capacity development in maritime engineering through the University of Nairobi in partnership with the International Maritime Organisation and the International Association of Maritime Universities.
“We will also enhance capabilities for Kenyan sea-farers to work on ships across the vast oceans by upgrading the Kenya Maritime School and build an African blue economy innovation and research centre,” Uhuru said.
The President also committed to establish the University of Nairobi Institute for Blue Economy and Ocean Studies to train 5,000 graduate seafarers in partnership with global shipping lines.
The country will also take measures to revive its maritime transport by building and expanding its ports and shipping facilities.
During the conference, the first sovereign blue bond of $15 million (Sh1.5 billion) was issued in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank and the Prince of Wales Trust (Seychelles).
The conference also established a World Bank trust fund to help manage marine litter in developing countries
Sweden pledged $33.3 million (Sh3.3 billion) to the World Bank fund to support the transition to the blue economy, help develop a blue economy investment facility and strategy, and realise sustainable development goal number 14 on the conservation of the oceans, seas and marine resources.
On plastics, Uhuru promised to confront the challenge of waste management and plastic pollution. Java House Africa also committed to plastic-free services in all it establishments.
Japan’s Toyota Tshusho pledged to invest in renewable energy in Africa including generation of energy from waste in Mombasa.