President Kenyatta unveils Ksh. 10bn fisheries project

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President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta at a past event. PHOTO/COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta has unveiled the Ksh. 10 billion Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Development Project, a Government initiative aimed at uplifting the income of fishing communities along the Kenyan coast.

President Kenyatta said the immense 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 10 years.

The World Bank-supported project seeks to create over 60,000 new jobs in the fishing sector over the next decade and will benefit 19 sub-counties in Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, and Lamu Counties.

Speaking at the launch of the project, the President said the project is part of the Government’s post-Covid-19 recovery efforts adding that the initiative, to be rolled in 5 years, will lead to sustainable utilization of Kenya’s marine fisheries resources.

“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,” President Kenyatta said.

Alongside the livelihoods project, President Kenyatta 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 blue economy, the revival of Liwatoni fish Port, and the Government’s plan to set a fish processing factory in Lamu as some of the ongoing projects in the fisheries sector.

On capacity building in the sector, the President said the Government had designated the Bandari Maritime Academy to be the centre of excellence in the training of seafarers and fisherfolk.

“Building the capacity of our 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,” the President Kenyatta said.

Coast Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), and Fahim Twaha (Lamu) hailed the project as a new frontier in improving the livelihoods of fishing communities and spurring the growth of related industries in the region.

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