Kenyan military to secure lakes and rivers as the country moves to exploit its blue economy

Kenya’s total maritime territory covers 230,000 square kilometers and a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore.

The ministry of defence has moved to secure the Exclusive Economic Zone along the Kenyan coast in aid of exploitation of Kenya’s vast blue economy.

Speaking during the Ambassador’s roundtable meeting at the Department of Defense headquarters, Defense Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo said Kenya’s maritime region needed protection as it was key in enabling Kenya meet her food security needs as well as generate both agro-processing opportunities and manufacturing.

“The Blue Economy and maritime security must be interpreted expansively to include inland water bodies especially the rivers and lakes that are trans-border in nature,” said Omamo.

Ms. Omamo called for international partnerships to help African states ensure safety and security of their Exclusive Economic Zones as it was key in spurring economic growth

“Many of Africa’s water ways are underutilized as viable trade corridors and centers of food security, enterprise and economic diversification.”

Kenya’s total maritime territory covers 230,000 square kilometers and a distance of 200 nautical miles offshore but neglect coupled with weak policies has seen the resource lie idle and the country missing out on on more than Sh90 billion ($867m) annually

Blue economy is also in crucial in aiding President Uhuru Kenyatta achieve his four pillars; food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all and hence the need to secure it.

Over the years, the high cost of insurance cover due to insecurity caused by piracy over the Indian Ocean has been a major impediment to trade and the government is planning to establish a Kenya Coast Guard that will provide the much needed security and help spur trade.

Ms. Omamo further called for conservation of inland water ways and water bodies including Lake Victoria that is threatened by both climate change and environmental degradation.

“The deteriorating state of Lake Victoria and Lake Chad for example, has the potential of negatively affecting the livelihoods of millions of Africans by brewing a lethal cocktail of poverty violence and despair,” warned the Cabinet Secretary.

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