NAIROBI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Thursday his government will invest in the blue economy which has been identified as a priority sector under the Vision 2030 development agenda.
Kenyatta said Kenya has prioritized the sustainable utilization of its ocean and blue economy resources as an enabler of the Vision 2030 economic blueprint.
"It is clear that the ocean economy is a smart investment that can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to our people," he said in Nairobi when he presided over the national launch of the New Ocean Action Agenda which is an offshoot of a similar global plan by the 14-nation High-Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy.
The Kenyan leader is a member of the panel whose objective is to promote sustainable utilization of ocean resources by striking a balance between their economic exploitation and conservation requirements.
In a statement issued after the launch, Kenyatta said Kenya is keen to fully realize the potential of its 142,400 square kilometer exclusive economic zone.
"However, as we do so, we will steadfastly protect our marine resources even as we pursue its enhanced development and productivity," he added.
The east African nation's focus on the blue economy is centered on fisheries and aquaculture, ocean renewable energy, offshore oil and gas exploration, coastal and cruise tourism, deep and short sea shipping, blue biotechnology, extractives and marine aquatic products.
The president said Kenya is proactively implementing policies aimed at tackling the challenge of ocean pollution, especially from plastic waste.
He said Kenya banned the use of polythene carrier bags in 2017 and has now implemented a ban on single-use plastics in all protected areas including beaches, national parks, conservation parks, and forests.
According to Kenyatta, the government is working with local communities to conserve coastal ecosystems.
He expressed the government's commitment to its international agreements on sustainable utilization of ocean resources, saying Kenya will continue leveraging on global institutions based in the country such as UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Sub-Commission for Africa and Adjacent Island States, and the Global Sea Level Observation System to sharpen Kenya's ocean conservation efforts.
"As a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, I commit myself and my government to achieving 100 percent sustainable ocean management of areas within our national jurisdiction, guided by Sustainable Ocean Plans, by 2025," he said.
Samson Mwathethe who chairs the National Blue Economy Committee said Kenya is making steady progress towards reaping the immense economic benefits presented by the sector. Mwathethe called on the private sector to partner with the government in reviving the sector. Enditem