The European Union (EU) has pumped Sh3.5 billion to finance hundreds of Blue Economy related projects in the six counties of the Coast Region.
The project implemented through the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP), the economic bloc of the six Coast counties, launched calls for proposals for the multi-billion shillings project at the Technical University of Mombasa.
Entrepreneurs and community-based organizations invited to submit proposals for the grants should be involved in blue economy, tourism and cultural heritage projects in Kwale, Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties.
The Go Blue programme has three components of Go blue growth worth Sh788 million (euros 6,250,007.5) which covers skills and value chains, fisheries and agriculture, and cultural and heritage tourism projects.
The Go blue environment covers 12 areas of conservation and sustainable use of Coastal urban and marine environments, whose intervention is aimed at protection of coastal ecosystems, improved waste management and create jobs in target areas of the blue economy.
The segment will enlist 10,000 youth and women into income generating activities in 100 areas of the blue economy, protect 10,000 hectares of coastal ecosystem and include another 10,000 hectares of vulnerable land-sea plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Further additional 10,000 area hectares of potential economic and social development land will be included in the land-sea plans.
It will also establish eight innovative demonstration or replication projects related to land-sea planning in the six counties through Jumuiya innovative clubs, build two public spaces in Kilifi and Mombasa and establish one blue carbon project covering 1000 hectares of mangrove land in Lamu.
Two solid waste recycling and collection facilities will be upgraded in Taita Taveta, one constructed wetland will be developed and applied in Mombasa through an innovative technique and technology provided by the UN and one fish landing site will be constructed or upgraded with significant land-sea planning elements.
The Maritime Go Blue aims at enhancing maritime governance through integrated and effective maritime law enforcement hence contributing to regional and global security and creating a favourable environment for the economic development of the country.
The maritime security component of the larger Go Blue programme seeks to support the National Government in the development and implementation of its maritime strategy, strengthen the capacity of the Kenya Coast Guard Service, developing strong legal instruments and regulatory frameworks to address maritime threats and implement maritime law enforcement and facilitating bilateral cooperation with neighbouring countries and enhancing regional cooperation in the area of maritime security.
The Portuguese Ambassador to Kenya, Luísa Fragoso, who presided over the launch of her country’s supported projects of Go Blue programme, said the initiative will spur the economy and create hundreds of job opportunities.
The envoy noted that Portugal, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other EU partners, seek to support the country’s efforts to unlock the abundance of untapped marine resources.
Comoes Cooperacao Portuguesa (Portuguese International Cooperation) Project Manager, Paulina Oliveira, said the tourism and culture heritage project has been divided into two lots.
The first lot targets Civil Society Organizations while the second one is designed for public and private sector organizations.
“We want to create employment opportunities and also to stimulate skills and value chains across sectors in tourism and cultural heritage in the coastal region. The job opportunities target groups are women and youth,” added Paulina.
Ms Alina Neacsu, Policy Advisor with European Union Delegation to Kenya, added that the “Go Blue” programme aims to harness untapped vast economy within the maritime, hospitality, fishing, climate change and maritime security projects.
“The Go Blue funding all over the Coast is euro 520,000.00 intervention. Over Sh3.5 billion that goes into creating jobs and training young people, both men and women in blue sectors, maritime security, boat industry and hospitality. Secondly, we are also looking at harnessing the resources of the ocean and also greenhouse gas emission that Kenya has recently included in national contributions towards reducing the green gas emission,”
JKP Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Nzai, said the funds have been channelled through various EU missions in Kenya to support and fund innovative small projects and businesses.
“The funds from the EU have been challenged through its missions to Kenya to support those projects,” Nzai added.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) will manage funds for planning and environment projects. France handles maritime; Portuguese oversees tourism and cultural heritage; the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) handles aquaculture and vocational training; and Italy manages fisheries.
Coast Tourism Association (CTA) Chairman, Victor Mshitakha, said the Portuguese government funds will support harnesses of untapped opportunities within cultural and heritage in the six Coast counties.
“We have been selling beaches and safaris. The Coast has a lot more and that is why they have come to support us in lifting up cultural and heritage tourism. We got so many heritages and monuments. The beauty of what they are bringing in is that they want to create sustainable employment for young people and uplift their livelihood.”
By Galgalo Bocha