Kwale County Governor Salim Mvurya has hailed the unveiling of the Sh10 billion Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Development Project, an initiative aimed at uplifting economic wellbeing of fisher folks along the coastline.
The project objective is to improve management of priority fisheries and mariculture and increase access to complementary livelihood activities in coastal communities.
The project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta at Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa at the weekend in a ceremony attended by Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River Governors.
The Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Project aims at promoting investment in the blue economy sector at the coast and is funded by the World Bank through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives.
“As a county we are determined to work closely with the national government and development partners in the blue economy sector to ensure that we achieve sustainable development,” said Mvurya.
He said the devolved units should promote the sustainable investments in the blue resources and unlock the potential of the ocean and marine resources to contribute to local economic growth.
Mvurya said the huge potential of the oceans and the blue resources for human wellbeing and for boosting economic growth, tackling unemployment and addressing food security challenges has gained traction worldwide.
He welcomed the determination to unlock a sustainable, inclusive and resilient blue economy, which he termed as the next frontier of growth for the coastal counties.
He noted that the blue economy sector has a huge economic potential in the country through sustainable use of water bodies.
Governor Mvurya noted that Kwale has several investment opportunities in the tourism and fisheries sectors.
He said the fresh interventions in the fishing sector will in the long run improve the livelihoods and nutrition of fisher folks.
“This project will grow our economies as a region through the creation of income generating activities,” he said.
Mvurya said the project is meant to promote investments in the blue economy sector in the coastal region as well as strengthening livelihoods of the people.
The blue economy sector encompasses fisheries, maritime transport, renewable energy, tourism, climate change and waste management.
Mvurya urged leaders from the region to invest in building the capacity of the people in the blue economy sector.
He reckoned that the ocean has not been fully exploited and that the new impetus to sustainably exploit the marine ecosystem will boost economic prospects and stressed the need to work with all stakeholders.
The World Bank-supported project seeks to create 60,000 new jobs in the fishing sector over the next decade and will benefit the counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River.
By Hussein Abdullahi