Kenya is seeking to raise Sh800 million as it plans to host its first global conference on blue economy in November.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau on Tuesday said they were seeking to partner with governments, the private sector, the civil society, academic and scientific institutions among others.
So far, Canada, with a Sh200-million contribution, has offered to co-host the event slated for November 26-28 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
“They have come and offered to have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta to co-host this conference,” Mr Kamau, who previously served as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, told editors at The Sarova Stanley in Nairobi.
Blue economy is defined as production, trade and the supply of money powered largely by oceanic and marine resources.
It was originally pioneered by the Alliance of Small Island Developing States but has since gained momentum across the globe.
The ministerial-level conference will focus on new technologies and innovation for oceans, seas, lakes and rivers as well as the challenges, potential opportunities, priorities and partnerships.
Nairobi is keen to leverage on the meeting to accelerate investment in its rivers, lakes and the Indian Ocean and transform adjacent towns into economic powerhouses as is the case in most developed countries.
“London, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Miami, Oslo, Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Barcelona are all sea-facing and are all economic powerhouses of their respective countries or States,” Mr Kamau said.
“This is a complete opposite for Kenya: Turkana, Lodwar, Kilifi, Lamu and Baringo, despite their proximity to large water bodies, are the face of poverty, something the government is keen to change.”
Besides the tourism boom that will come with hosting the over 6,000 delegates, according to Mr Kamau’s estimates, Kenya is eyeing business deals in fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, shipbuilding, energy, bio-prospecting, and underwater mining.
“The conference will provide an opportunity for north-south, south-south and triangular cooperation,” said the ambassador.
Nairobi has already dispatched letters of invitation to all UN member states and international organisations.
President Kenyatta, who on December 5 announced to the United Nations General Assembly Kenya’s intent to host the event, plans to use next month’s G7 summit in Canada to market the conference.
“We expect more than 200 ministers drawn from various sectors including environment, fisheries, agriculture, shipping, off-shore mining, tourism, maritime security and defence,” the ministry said in a dispatch.