Japan To Africa: Emulate Us In Developing Blue Economy

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Written by Staff

African countries that have direct access to the sea should emulate Japan in exploiting their maritime resources to grow their economies, said International Maritime Organization Secretary General Koji Sekimizu, according to a report in IHSMaritime.

Sekimizu spoke in Nairobi last week at Kenya’s first-ever National Maritime Conference, saying much work was needed to develop the continent’s maritime industry, or blue economy.

Other conference speakers included Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

African countries must develop maritime policies so they can get support from the public and private sectors, Sekimizu said.

From IHSMaritime.

Although Kenya has 640 kilometers (398 miles) of coastline and a seaport that serves the landlocked countries of Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda, its maritime contribution to gross domestic product remains marginal, with mass unemployment leaving thousands of seafarers and fishing industry workers to live in abject poverty.

With the recent discovery of oil and gas in Kenya spawning renewed interest in its maritime sector, Sekimizu said the International Maritime Organization would work with the U.N. Development Programme and other such bodies to ensure African countries were supported in their efforts to expand the industry.

He proposed that Kenya draft a maritime policy in order to exploit the benefits of the blue economy, adding that “what was possible in Japan should be possible in African countries and in particular, in Kenya.”

Strong policy, formally adopted by the government, is a crucial element for any industry in any nation and even more so for seaborne trades, he said, adding that maritime development would lead Kenya towards prosperity.

Read more at IHSMaritime.