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Kenya set to host global blue economy 

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Kenya is set to host the global conference on sustainable blue economy targeting at least 6,000 participants across the world.

The conference dubbed ‘blue economy and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development will address technologies on tapping resources on water based sectors, including oceans, lakes and big rivers.

“Our development has disproportionately relied on land based natural resources but the water related sectors of our economy remain underdeveloped and therefore time has come to tap into these resources to drive our economy, for social empowerment and protection of the environment,” said Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary, Amb. Kamau Macharia, during a pressing briefing on Tuesday on state of preparedness for the upcoming global event.

Macharia expressed concern that Kenya earns less than 5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product from the blue economy, saying there is need to optimally use country’s water resources for stainable development.

However, he noted that while some parts of the nation are endowed with water resources, a large part is arid and semi-arid, which must be dealt with to meet the country’s development aspirations.

Discussions will centre on using sustainable blue economy for accelerated economic growth, job creation and poverty eradication. It will also address ways of controlling pollution, climate change and loss of marine biodiversity.

The PS added that after the conference, countries, including Kenya will be expected to establish partnerships, networks, sign contracts and agreements with other stakeholders including public and private sectors.

“These could be in the form of financing of various blue economy sectors, transfer of new technologies and innovations and capacity building whether through information sharing, collaboration or joint research,” he explained.

Macharia was accompanied by three other Principal Secretaries who also addressed the media, included Prof. Japhet Ntiba (Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy), Susan Mochache (Environment and Forestry) and Nancy Karigithu (Maritime and Shipping Affairs).

The  Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya, Sara Hradecky, who is also co-host of the conference while addressing the press briefing at KICC, said that Kenya and Canada are offering the world a platform to discuss how to enhance productivity and sustainability of rivers, lakes and oceans. Canada has the biggest Blue Economy in the world.

The forum will have exhibitions, be business and private sector forum, mayors and governors forum, academic and scientific forum.

At  least Sh.775 million will be spent during the event and the organizing committee confirmed that so far they have received pledges amounting to Sh.251 million.

Canada has donated about Sh.300 million in cash and kind towards the conference, while Norway, Portugal have donated Sh.30 million and Sh.10 million respectively among others.

By  Denson Mututo

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