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Lake region counties to benefit from blue economy

Kenyans should join hands with the neighbouring East African Community (EAC) Member States in harnessing resources in Lake Victoria Basin to boost the region’s Blue Economy.

This would translate to 71 per cent of the expansive water mass being able to feed its 36 million population spread out in the five EAC Member States; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi who depend on the resources for daily livelihood.

The Principal Secretary (PS) for Maritime & Blue Economy Judith Kariguthu said refurbishment of the railway line and Kisumu Port has greatly contributed to the timely implementation of the infrastructural development in the area.

Kariguthu said the projects have transformed Kisumu into the gateway to the EAC region but more still needed to be done to fully exploit available opportunities.

“Kisumu Lake Front Development Agency kick-started various projects in collaboration with the County Government to fully exploit the huge potential for investments and employment opportunities,” she said.

The PS singled out the United Kingdom (UK) for the massive investments they put in the Lakeside city such as the waterbus which have tremendously impacted the economic transformation witnessed in the region recently.

Kariguthu said by 2030, all residents of the Lake Victoria Basin should fully enjoy positive results but while at it, curb environmental destruction that could claw back the gains made over the years.

Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya said all the 14 counties; Kisumu, Kakamega, Vihiga, Busia, Bungoma, Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomett, Nandi & Trans-Nzoia would greatly benefit.

Oparanya encouraged partners present at the forum to pool resources for unlocking the huge potential available in the Blue Economy sector before the current Governors exit the scene after August 9th 2022 General Election.

Devolution PS Julius Korir urged stakeholders to draw from lessons learnt during the first 5 years of devolved system of governance, advising county governments to implement programmes that would facilitate economic growth.

Korir said they have established the development sector working groups to accelerate the devolution process after having taken the bold step of concluding the Devolution Policy Review.

“Blue Economy is one area we are looking at working with the counties and other partners to make it a reality. We have engaged respective devolved units to create a business environment able to attract further investments,” he added.

By Joseph Ouma

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