By MWAKWAYA RAYMOND MWAKWAYA
Kilifi County is set to benefit from a five-year World Bank (WB) funded contract of Sh10 billion for the Kenya Marine Fisheries Socioeconomic Development (KEMFSED) project.
Government has signed a five-year contract with the national government that would see that 10 billion shillings from the World Bank fund the Kenya Marine Fisheries Socioeconomic Development (KEMFSED) project.
The national government-initiated project will see another four counties of the Coast region also benefit from a total of Sh4.96 billion directly through the Coastal Communities Empowerment and Livelihoods Projects.
In a signed press release, the County’s communication director Eric Ponda notes all the four counties of Kilifi, Lamu, Mombasa and Kwale derive a significant percentage of their livelihoods on the blue economy.
According to him the project is aimed at improving governance and management of marine ecosystem, fisheries industry and the Blue economy.
Under the project’s radar will be the improvement of the management of near shore fisheries apart from infrastructure development for fisheries management and marine spatial planning and policies development.
The funding would also offer scholarships (grants) to support formal vocational skills training including technical and vocational education training (TVET) for qualified residents of the targeted counties.
“Governor Amason Kingi is focused in ensuring that the funding shall uplift the social and economic wellbeing of Kilifi county people,” Mr Ponda says.
During the signing ceremony the Governor was represented by the chief executive committee member in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Luciana Sanzua and the chief officer in-charge of fisheries Stephen Mwakai.
The communication boss explained that the national government had requested for funding from WB on behalf of the Coastal county governments so as to tap and improve on the marine resources.
“The national government of Kenya through the state department of Agriculture fisheries livestock and the Blue Economy had requested the World Bank to support the Kenya marine fisheries and social economic development project,” he says in his written statement.
The project, according to him, is aimed at increasing access to complementary livelihood activities for the coastal communities on two levels.
At the county level, activities to be funded by this project will include land-based patrols and capacity development for Beach Management Units (BMUs).
While at the national level it will oversee the implementation of activities such as offshore and onshore patrols, capacity building and training, research, stock assessment and fisheries improvement and general fisheries related projects.
BLUE ECONOMY POTENTIAL
Blue economy has been touted as the ‘lifeline’ for African countries if sustainable exploitation of its oceans, lakes and rivers are put under efficient management tap into the $1.5 trillion global economy.
The continent has 38 coastal and island states and a coastline of over 47,000 kilometres presenting an enormous opportunity for it to develop the sectors associated with blue economy such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transportation and maritime and inland ports to reduce poverty, enhance food and energy security and create more job opportunities for its citizenry.
In fact, according to the recently held Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, more that 12 million people are employed in fisheries alone , the largest of the continent’s blue economy sectors.
The sector provides food security and nutrition for over 200 million Africans and generating value added estimated at more than $24 billion (about 1.26 per cent of the GDP of all African countries).