NAIROBI, The Ministry of Defence has moved to secure Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the country’s coast to faciliatate efforts to tap into the potential of the Blue Ocean Economy, says Defence Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Raychelle Omamo.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s blueprint for a four-pillar national development strategy has seen the ministry of defense moving to provide the enabling environment for growth of the Blue Economy, she said at a roundtable for foreign diplomats at the ministry here Wednesday.

Kenya’s maritime region holds the key to securing the country’s food security, generating wealth as well as providing much-needed employment opportunities, she told the ambassadors, while calling for international partnerships to help African nations ensure safety and security of their EEZs.

Over the years, the high cost of insurance cover resulting from insecurity caused by incidents of piracy in the Indian Ocean has been a major impediment to trade, and the Kenyan government is moving to establish a Coast Guard which will provide the much needed security to help spur trade, she added.

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. Many of Africa’s waterways are under-utilized as viable trade corridors and centres of food security, enterprise and economic diversification.

She noted that the Blue Economy is key to enabling Kenya meet itsfood security needs as well as generate both agro-processing opportunities and manufacturing.