Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday launched the 10-billion-shillings (about 92.8 million U.S. dollar) Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Development Project to help uplift the income of fishing communities along the coastal region.
Kenyatta said the project backed by the World Bank seeks to create over 60,000 new jobs in the fishing sector over the next decade and will benefit 19 sub-counties in the coastal region.
“When successfully completed, we expect this project to contribute to sustainable exploitation of Kenya’s marine fisheries. This represents a new dawn in the development of the coastal region, and it is a key pillar in my administration’s job and wealth creation agenda,” he said in a statement issued after the launch in the port city of Mombasa.
Kenyatta said the huge opportunity provided by the project must be exploited to generate investments, create jobs, increase tax revenues and sustainably improve local livelihoods.
He emphasized the need to commercialize the country’s enormous marine resources for the benefit of Kenyans by creating well-thought strategic national systems to ensure the landing of more than 300,000 metric tonnes of fish annually and in turn create at least 60,000 jobs over the next ten years.
The president said the project is part of the government’s post-COVID-19 recovery efforts adding that the initiative, to be rolled in five years, will lead to sustainable utilization of Kenya’s marine fisheries resources.
Under Kenya’s blue economy development strategy planned through 2030, Kenya is inviting private investors to partner with the government in developing relevant fishing infrastructure and support small-and-medium-sized fishing companies to modernize their operations.
Kenyatta also outlined several other interventions the government is implementing to expand opportunities for employment and wealth creation in the emerging blue economy sector.
He listed the creation of a dedicated office to deal with oceans and the blue economy, the revival of Liwatoni fish Port and the government’s plan to set up a fish processing factory in Lamu as some of the ongoing projects in the fisheries sector.
The Kenyan leader said building the capacity of fishers to world standards is an essential part of this effort.
“The enhanced management framework, under the Oceans and Blue Economy Office, should ensure that fishing vessels licensed to operate in our waters provide job and training opportunities for our fishers and young people,” he said.