In recognition of his leading role in driving Africa’s Blue Economy agenda and ensuring that the continent harnesses its rightful share of marine resources, African Union Commission (AUC) conferred Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta a Special Blue Economy Award on the second day of the conference in Nairobi.
The AUC awards were presented in three categories to recognize countries, associations and individuals who have made significant contributions towards Africa’s blue economy agenda.
Besides President Kenyatta’s award (described as special and the most important) other African leaders were also recognized as champions of the continent’s blue economy campaign, among them were the presidents of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe and Seychelles, Danny Faure, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius.
Presenting the Special Blue Economy award to Kenyatta, who was the Chief organizer of first Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, commended President Kenyatta for taking a leading role in driving Africa’s Blue Economy agenda as well as in ensuring that the continent harnesses its rightful share of marine resources.
Mahamat note that Kenyatta was honoured for mobilising and bringing the world together for a successful and historic conference that brought together over 18,000 delegates drawn from 170 countries, with ten Heads States.
While accepting the award during a banquet hosted by the AUC in honour of the Heads of State and Government and delegates that participated at three-day event, President Kenyatta said “Kenya is proud to push a global agenda to ensure Africa benefits from the expansive and highly lucrative blue economy”.
He lamented that for many years “the continent’s Blue Economy resources have been exploited by others and it is now time for Africans to come together to harness the remaining resources”.
“Africa has not benefitted from this depleting resource. The continent needs to come together to exploit the remaining resources for the benefit of the continent and the future of mankind,” President Kenyatta reiterated.
Kenyatta assured that his government will continue to work closely with the AU towards a successful blue economy agenda.
He thanked the AUC for the award, saying the honour belongs to the “great people of Kenya”.
The banquet was hosted at a Nairobi hotel and attended by Deputy President William Ruto and AU’s special envoy for infrastructure, Raila Odinga.
The AUC also recognized Canada for co-hosting the Nairobi conference alongside Japan.
The AUC chairperson said the blue economy agenda was important to the African continent adding that 90 per cent of Africa’s exports are transported through maritime routes.
“This is why our Heads of State and government have decided to prioritize the Blue Economy,” he told the delegates.
He said the blue economy was a new frontier for Africa and thanked President Kenyatta for taking a leading role in its promotion.
The AUC chairperson called for prudent management of the resource and respect for the marine ecosystem which he termed as a blessing.
The three-day conference ended with resolutions to guide Africa on how to harness, protect, sustain and manage its marine resources.