- Existing blue economy activities in Kenya include shipping, fishing and coastal tourism.
- In March 2021, Kenya launched the Go Blue Initiative to harness the potential of marine resources for national and nationwide growth.
- The Kenya Maritime Zone Act enables the creation of exclusive economic zones that allow Kenya to explore and harness the potential of the ocean for the benefit of Kenya.
In 2018, Nairobi hosted the first global Blue Economy Conference, which put Kenya in the spotlight in relation to the emerging market. Blue economy generally includes economic activities that take place in the sea. This includes coastal tourism and the use of raw materials from the sea.
According to statistics from the Commonwealth website, the blue economy can contribute around $ 15 trillion a year worldwide. Around 80 percent of world trade already takes place via the ocean through imports and exports.
The same report states that around 350 million jobs are directly or indirectly linked to the blue economy. Aquaculture, which is becoming an increasingly important source of food, contributes around 50 percent to fish. Other sources of food from the sea are plant species such as algae and marine algae.
The ocean also has a great capacity to produce alternative sources of energy. It is estimated that in about five years, at least 34 percent of the world’s crude oil will come from the ocean floor. Other energy sources are tidal energy (wave energy), thermal energy from the sun and wind energy from the sea. All of this can be further used to supplement the existing sources.
The ocean floor also contains many minerals such as sand, coral, metal, and even gas. In fact, most of the earth’s surface is made up of the ocean and therefore has very great potential for growing the global economy and addressing issues such as food security and climate change.
Existing blue economy activities in Kenya include shipping, fishing and coastal tourism. Coastal tourism is the main source of income for many residents of the coastal region and has contributed significantly to the growth of coastal cities and districts.
In March 2021, Kenya launched the Go Blue Initiative to harness the potential of marine resources for national and nationwide growth. Around six districts are positively influenced by this initiative.
Kenya has also announced that it will be granting some exploration rights related to mining and energy feasibility studies. The Indian Ocean is said to have a lot of mining and energy potential. Energy generated from the sea, be it tides, heat or wind, has the potential to complement the national power grid and improve the protection of the land environment.
Africa has a blue economy strategy within the African Union. It is already noteworthy that some countries have already started implementing blue economy activities. Ghana, for example, initiated wave energy, while Mauritius relies on the use of wind energy from the sea.
Therefore, the recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Kenya in the Kenyan-Somali dispute deals the country a heavy blow in relation to its plans to implement the blue economy strategy.
Kenya has decided to ignore the ruling entirely. The decision indicates that the disputed area covers approximately 100,000 square kilometers of a triangle in the Indian Ocean. This decision is likely to have an impact on Kenya’s implementation of the Blue Economy strategy, as it was already planned to grant some exploration rights.
The Kenya Maritime Zone Act enables the creation of exclusive economic zones that allow Kenya to explore and harness the potential of the ocean for the benefit of Kenya.
As for the blue economy, all is not lost. We can still explore and exploit the undisputed marine zone.