KENYA – Five coastal counties in Kenya are set to benefit from a Sh10 billion (US$98.5m) funding from the World Bank to develop fisheries sector and harness opportunities in the blue economy.
Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu counties have been listed as beneficiaries of the fund secured by the national government through the State Department of Fisheries and the Blue Economy programme.
The funding is meant to support the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development (Kemfsed) project which will be rolled out this year, so as to attain maximum and sustainable economic benefits from coastal and marine resources.
Agencies implementing the Kemfsed project will be the State Department of Fisheries, Blue Economy and Kenya Fisheries Service. Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) will also participate in the ambitious multi-agency project.
“The overall project development goal is to enhance economic benefits and coastal livelihoods from marine fisheries and coastal aquaculture while safeguarding associated ecosystems’ integrity,” says the project report.
According to the document, the five coastal counties will get Sh4.96 billion (US$48.85m) as grant. The remaining Sh5.04 billion (US$49.64m) will be retained by the State department to service the five counties’ infrastructure projects.
“There is no particular amount allocated to any county and funds will be given to the counties according to their identified projects that are worth investing in and the annual work plans that counties will be preparing,” says the document.
The World Bank defines the blue economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.”
As such, the grant is set to benefit local fishermen through the training in skills to enable them to manoeuvre in the deep seas for better catches.
This is in addition to the 100 fishermen who underwent deep-sea fishing training in Kilifi facilitated by the national government.
Fisheries Principal Secretary Prof. Michemi Ntiba says the grant is also expected to fund purchase of modern fishing gear.
With Kenya constantly keen to fend off illegal deep-sea fishermen depleting fish stock in Kenya’s water territories, equipping local fishermen with technical skills to venture into deep-sea fishing is expected to curtail the vice according to Prof. Ntiba.
The project is set to fund governance and management of marine fisheries and aquatic resources with the aim of strengthening them to control overfishing and enhance associated ecosystem integrity.
Another component of the project is aimed to promote investment in marine fisheries and coastal aquaculture to enhance efficient utilisation and value addition of the resources.
The third component will cover project management, including establishment and operationalisation of the secretariat, fiduciary, environmental and social safeguards and monitoring and evaluation.
The World Bank grant is in addition to the 2.5 billion shillings (US$24.6m) grant the European Union gave the coastal counties to develop blue economy infrastructure in the region.
The gross marine product of the western Indian Ocean is valued at over 2.5 trillion shillings (US$24.6b) with Kenya’s share estimated at slightly over 450 billion shillings.