World maritime sector stakeholders converged in Nairobi to deliberate and set new targets to accelerate implementation of United Nation’s 2030 Agenda as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. Key commitments of the first World Sustainable Blue Economy Conference included push for increased investments in the maritime space, gender mainstreaming strategic partnerships to harness the potential of the waters through pollution reduction.
A Trust Fund to help developing countries manage marine litter under the stewardship of the World Bank has also been set up. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta called for a robust multilateral approach; reiterating his administration’s commitment to confront the menace of plastic pollution.
As part of the conference, the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre- Africa which is hosted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology or
ganised a side event to push for efficient shipping practices in developing countries.
Addressing the side event, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi urged the delegates to redouble their efforts towards sustainable use of marine resources.
Prof. Ngumi noted that JKUAT had ramped up its efforts to assist Kenya realize its blue economy aspirations; having taken the bold step to pioneer maritime education in the country. The University, Prof. Ngumi said, mounted the bachelor’s degree in marine engineering in 2010.
Plans she added for the University to roll out additional undergraduate maritime related programs namely BSc. Nautical Science and BSc. Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering are at advanced stages.
MTCC-Africa has provided a platform for research and training in maritime related field such as Green House Gas Emissions from the Maritime Shipping Industry and alternative energy sources and use.
State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary, Mrs. Nancy Karigithu informed the conference that despite the immense maritime potential of developing economies, few had tapped into the resources.
“Africa’s global trade by value is only 2.7%. Our maritime exports are only 7%. Our maritime imports are only 5%,” said the PS.
To turnaround the scenario, the Principal Secretary called for adoption of the abundant low-cost labour, tapping into the youth dividend and establishment of businesses along the various coasts.
The Blue Economy Conference held on November 26-28, was jointly hosted by the Governments of Kenya, Canada and Japan.