NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – Japan is set to fund Kenya’s inaugural Sustainable Blue Economy Conference to the tune of Sh300 million.
According to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, the new funding secured when she met her counterpart in Tokyo early this month’s bridges the funding gap for the event estimated to cost Sh800 million.
“I secured Sh300 million in Tokyo, South Africa has given us Sh80 million, and a number of countries are also coming on board so we will not have difficulties financing this event,” she told Capital FM News on Tuesday.
Japan will be joining Canada as a co-host of the event scheduled to take place between November 26 and 28, the latter having channelled Sh200 million towards the event with an additional Sh100 million in non-monetary contributions.
Other than Japan, Canada, and South Africa, the United Kingdom, Norway, Portugal and Fiji are also expected to contribute towards funding the Blue Economy Summit.
The announcement by CS Juma came against the backdrop of an indication by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau that the ministry had raised close to Sh700 million to fund the summit.
While embarking on a resource mobilization campaign in May, Kamau had said the government would act as the guarantor of the conference with the National Treasury making resources available to bridge the funding gap.
Japan and Canada’s support was an accumulation of a campaign launched during the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 when Kenya formally expressed her intent to host a blue economy conference.
While addressing UNGA last year, President Kenyatta had underscored the importance of not only harnessing the potential of oceans and promoting sustainable blue economy saying it was critical to achieving economic prosperity.
“Earlier this year, in June, all our countries attended the first ever United Nations Conference on Oceans in New York. Following the conference, we all came to better realize the pivotal importance of oceans and seas to our people, our planet and our prosperity,” he noted.
“Oceans, we now know, not only provide great value in maintaining life sustaining climatic conditions for all of us, but also provide enormous value in the form of the blue economy that can be tapped to help accelerate economic growth and fight poverty in all our nations,” President Kenyatta further pointed out.
The Blue Economy Summit is projected to bring together over 4,000 delegates.
Conversations at the conference will be centred on harnessing the potential of oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers to uplift the economic wellness of indigenous persons living around lakes and oceans.
President Kenyatta’s government is also keen on leveraging emerging innovations in conservation of water resources for future generations.
Kenya is expected to use the conference on the blue economy to position itself to host the 2020 UN Oceans Conference.