Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has received the Portuguese Ambassador to Kenya Luísa Fragoso and her accompanying delegation that paid him a courtesy call in his office.
During the meeting, they exchanged cordial conservations and discussed areas of possible cooperation where the devolved unit can partner with Portuguese government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting was to deliberate ways in which Tourism, Culture and National heritage of the counties bordering the ocean will be promoted to the outside world with an aim of attracting tourists as well as exposing its rich and diverse culture.
The two touched on several aspects of joint interest with the Governor pointing out that his administration welcomes development partners and investors in projects that are focused on uplifting the local economy.
Mvurya said his administration is looking for closer cooperation with partners in the fields of common interest like agriculture, health, infrastructure, education and tourism.
“We had fruitful deliberations regarding the Go -Blue component of tourism and cultural heritage,” said Mvurya at the end of the encounter.
“As we speak GO BLUE project is conducting a TOT (Trainer of Trainers) training exercise on matters Blue Economy and leadership skills with five representatives from each of the six coastal counties,” he said.
Governor Mvurya welcomed the noble course by Portugal terming it as an idea that will see Kwale’s tourism, culture, heritage and monuments promoted to the outside world as well as it being an attraction point to tourism businesses.
“We have our Diani Beach which has been voted the best beach destination in Africa seven years in a row. This is an area of focus and as a county we are proud to have made such a milestone,” said Mvurya.
He also said the Go blue training focusing on youths and women will economically empower the people to venture into small scale businesses that will improve their livelihoods.
On her part the envoy assured the governor that her country will support his county in development spheres like tourism and the blue economy that are focused on growing the local economy through job creation.
The envoy noted that the Blue Economy has a huge potential in Kenya and that the European Union is injecting Sh3.23 billion in a programme dubbed ‘Go Blue’ that seeks to unlock the abundance of untapped marine resources.
Ms Fragoso who was accompanied by Rui Nunes da Silva Secretary General of Ubuntu Leaders Academy and Emmanuel Nzai from Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani observed that Portugal and Kenya enjoy friendly ties.
She said Portugal, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is aiming to partner with the six counties of the coastal region in the GO-BLUE project, Kwale being one of them.
Mr Nzai said once the training of the TOTs is finalized, The Go Blue Project will conduct another training on matters Blue Economy this time targeting 20 participants from the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River.
He said the four-year programme aims to protect the coastal ecosystems while creating environmentally friendly jobs in a host of industries including recycling, tourism and fishing.
He said it is designed to foster a ‘sustainable blue economy’ in the six coastal counties and generate more than 3,000 jobs for youth and women alone.
By Hussein Abdullahi