Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) towards the actualization and optimization of the blue economy in the Lake Victoria Basin Region.
Parties to the agreement will work together on matters relating to Lake Infrastructure, Maritime Transport, Tourism, Maritime Education and Training, Fisheries, Aquaculture, Cultural and Aquatic Sports, Trade and Investment, Environmental and Natural Resource Management, among others.
Speaking during the signing ceremony on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Vice Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, termed the initiative a timely venture, coming at a time when world leaders are deliberating matters climate change at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland.
“We have done a lot at the Kenyan Coast and African region as a whole as far as the sustainable exploitation of the blue economy is concerned. This has been spearheaded by the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC Africa) hosted at our Mombasa Campus, which has been championing maritime decarbonization across the continent. I’m very glad that as a university, we’re now expanding into the lake region,” she said.
Prof. Ngumi, while reaffirming JKUAT commitment to the collaboration, revealed that the partnership will provide an exciting opportunity for Marine Engineering students, who will get to attain practical hands-on training from vessels plying Lake Victoria.
“As far as training, capacity building and technology transfer goes, we shall also build a framework for offering short-time training to local community groups within the Lake Region Economic Bloc to further boost the achievement of Inland Blue Economy in the region,” she added.
In giving perspective and context to the initiative, Elphas Oyugi, an Economist at the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), narrated how the Lake Region’s Blue Economic Potentials were showcased during the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which was co-hosted by Kenya, Canada and Japan in November, 2018.
“Since 2019, several consultative meetings have been held, which have given rise to the ‘Multi Agency Economy Team’ to move forward the Inland Blue Economic Agenda,” he said.
On his part, Dr. Christiaan Adenya, who chairs the Department of Marine Engineering and Maritime Operations (MEMO), said, JKUAT will feature strongly in the collaboration by offering research capacity, training, aquaculture expertise, Environment protection, and spatial planning the lake through application of GIS. The addition of the lake to the blue economy matrix, he added, is significant since it will open up economic opportunities for people around the lake.
With a surface are of 68,800 km2 and a coastline that stretches over 2,000 miles, spanning three countries, Lake Victoria, also known as Nam Lolwe, is the third largest lake in the world, and the largest in Africa. It is also the world’s largest tropical lake, and the second largest fresh water lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America.
With the Vice Chancellor appending her signature to the agreement, the University has added its voice to over 40 other partners, including the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Lake Region Economic Bloc, Lake Basin Development Authority, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, the Kenya Ports Authority, National Commission for Science and Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), National Environmental Management Authority, Climate Change Directorate, National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kenya Shipyards Limited, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation, Water Resource Authority, Tourism Regulatory Authority, among others.