It has been a Momentous Week as Kenya; an East African Nation in conjunction with Canada and Japan hosted the World’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference that brought together close to 18,000 Delegates from 183 Countries around the World.Being home to Africa’s largest Lake that is also the World’s second largest fresh water Lake called Lake Victoria that binds East Africa,that was a well-deserved Onus.That said,there are a couple of really pertinent issues around this blue economic Hub of East Africa that were actually underplayed and under-emphasized.
One of them is the general Maritime Transport Safety across Lake Victoria.Between August and November 2018,East Africa has lost over 240 People through Boat and Ferry accidents Tanzania being the worst hit with the September 20,2018 MV Nyerere Ferry accident claiming over 200 Lives.Uganda is right now mourning the death of over 30 People who perished in a Boat accident on this very Lake barely a Week ago.The National Lake Rescue Institute has in fact positioned Lake Victoria as the most dangerous stretch of Water per square Kilometer according to its annual Figure of Lake Victoria’s Fatalities.Why such a grave matter could not get a commensurate consideration from its respective delegates was worrying.
The other issue is on the hotly contested ownership of the Fish-rich Waters around Migingo Island still on Lake Victoria.This tiny 0.49 Acre Island has been a subject of long-standing Conflict and bad blood between Kenya and Uganda with Communities around it always on a combative mood over this significant fishing area rich in the lucrative Nile Perch.This controversy has over time and again escalated to ugly territorial integrity altercations,arbitrary arrests and detentions.There has been no strategic,inclusive and conclusive effort to solve this Conflict by both parties.This too did not feature during this Conference despite having the Presidents and delegates from the two disputing Countries.
Away from these two challenges that call for an earnest address,the Conference did not end without a notable move from East Africa.The launch of a new Kenya Coast Guard Vessel to protect the Integrity and Dignity of Kenya’s Maritime or what we are now calling Blue Economy Territory days to this Conference is laudable.This is a move that all Nations should consider making towards a profitable,sustainable,secure and efficient Blue Economy.
With over 70% of the Earth Surface covered by Water;a strategic and sustainable investment on the Blue Economy can be the greatest source of Wealth and Income to the World Economy.Let us all support the Blue Economy Revolution.
Images Courtesy;PSCU Kenya.