UNCTAD Secretary General Dr. MukhisaKituyi,

Mombasa Governor H.E Hon. Hassan Joho,

Belgium Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Nicolas Nihon,

IAME President Dr. Jan Hoffman,

Principal Secretaries present,

KPA Acting Managing Director Dr. Arch. Daniel Manduku,

PMAESA Acting Secretary General Col. Andre Ciseau,

KMA Acting Director General Mr. George Macgoye,

Vice Chancellors present,

Distinguished delegates, participants,

Members of the fourth estate,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 Good morning, Hamjambo!,

I am pleased to welcome you all to this beautiful Port City of Mombasa. For our visitors from abroad, once again, welcome to Kenya.

I am delighted to note that the 26th International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) Conference, is being held in Africa for the first time. This significant development, underscores and supports Kenya's and indeed Africa's fervent efforts in promoting policies geared towards optimal development of the Blue Economy. Africa's "Blue word" is made of vast lakes and rivers and an extensive ocean resource base with 39 out of 55 African countries or 70 percent being coastal or islands. The Blue Economy can therefore play a major role in Africa's structural transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development. But these resources are vastly untapped.

Ladies and gentlemen,                              

Today we commence four-days of deliberations on one of the largest sectors comprising the most untapped world economies – the Blue economy. The expectations on the outcomes of this conference are very high. I have looked at the array of speakers that are lined up, as well as the wide range of topics set for discussion, and I am upbeat in my certainty that all speakers, facilitators and participants are rearing to share their knowledge freely, and that that knowledge will inform and help shape very sound and attainable resolutions.

This Conference is indeed historic, coming as it does, during a time when Africa has entered into a new phase of heightened efforts towards catalyzing development of the continent and strengthening African integration and unity. Indeed these process can be evidenced in two key developments the first phase being the formulation of three key documents, namely:

.                   · The African Maritime Transport Charter, 2010; 

         · The 2050 Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM-Strategy); and 

· Agenda 2063. Which has an interface with the UN Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development. All of these policy documents are aimed at maximizing regional and international trade through partnerships and cooperation.

The other development is The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) signed by the African heads of state at a meeting that was in KigaliRwanda in March 2018. Signed among all 55 members of the African Union, the AfCTA is the outcome of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and when fully ratified, the agreement will result in the largest free-trade area in terms of participating countries, since the formation of the World Trade Organization.

The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. It is expected that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022. This will be complimented by the African Union (AU), ambitious but realistic plans to implement new cabotage laws to empower the continent's maritime transport industry under the AIMS 2050.

Indeed the sustainable harnessing of ocean resources has now been recognized as the new frontier of African renaissance. The United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has offered a step by step guide on how African countries can realize the full potential of marine opportunities. It is encouraging to note that several African countries such as Mauritius, the Seychelles, South Africa and Madagascar, have formulated strategies to mainstream the blue economy in their national economic development programmes.

Closer home Kenya the Government is focusing on exploitation of the blue economy with emphasis on sustainable economic growth and achievement of her blueprint for national development, Vision 2030.  In this regard the Government mainstreamed the maritime sector into national economic planning. Under the "Big Four Economic Development Agenda" four key pillars have been prioritized which comprise of the following four key areas;

●      Enhancing Manufacturing sector to contribute 20 per cent to the GDP.

●      100 per cent Food Security and Nutrition, commitment.

●      100 per cent Universal Health Coverage; and

●      Affordable Housing.

Global Blue economy

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The term "Blue Economy" or "Blue Growth" has surged into common policy usage globally, and discussions have accelerated since "Rio+20", the 20thanniversary of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), held in Rio de Janeiro, in June 2012.

It has since been widely appreciated that a "Blue Economy" approach to sustainable growth usually recognizes different use and non-use values of Ocean and other "blue" resources, consequently, promoting the coordination of relevant activities and industries to enhance the overall value.

Distinguished Participants, Ladies & Gentlemen

While the scope of the Blue Economy may differ for different countries, it is generally agreed that the appropriate use and conservation of marine, inland aquatic and coastal resources can contribute immensely to food security, job & wealth creation, as well as inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth.

1.    But against the wide range of economic opportunities available, the challenge today remains how all these activities and industries can be coordinated and the resources managed so that the Blue Economy can bring about the maximum benefits to society in an inclusive and sustainable manner. It is significant therefore, to note that the theme of the conference "Sustainable Maritime Ports, Logistics Industries in emerging Economies: Towards a path of Blue Growth" has encompassed all the key players whose roles and contributions are complementary and critical to blue growth. Among the participants in this venue are a mixed wealth of knowledge and solutions from scholars from multiple disciplines in both developed and emerging economies; public and private practitioners, policy makers and implementers all with varied and rich experience on the Blue Economy and how to optimize its potential into sustainable blue growth, seasoned in how to turn these experiences, knowledge and learning into planning and action.

2.    Between scholars, practitioners and policy makers in the field of Blue Growth.

 I invite you therefore to give free rein to our thoughts and imagination, to share freely without inhibition, and to make the next four days a marathon learning experience. In tis I say that you are in the home of the world's best marathon runners - sorry I amend that … the home of the worlds marathon winners. Because everybody runs the marathon but only Kenya wins!

As I close my remarks, allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to announce to you all that the Republic of Kenya will be hosting the Global Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy from 26th to 28th November, 2018 in Nairobi. The goal of the Conference will be to have action-oriented discussions pertaining to a blue economy strategy that is people-centric with ocean-centric investments. The Conference will be preparatory to the 2020 Oceans Conference that Kenya will be Co-Hosting with Portugal and will include all UN Member states; United Nations Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies; Ministers of Oceans, Seas and Environment, Ministers of Economy; Ministers of Tourism' Regional Economic and Financial Institutions; Private Sector; Shipping Industries and Associations; as well as Mayors and Governors of Ocean/Lake facing Cities. You are all welcome to participate in this important Conference as we prepare for Portugal.


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