Innovation, collaboration and sustainability shine at BlueInvest Africa 2024
07/06/2024 00:33 in News

By Patrick Chiriba

The second edition of the BlueInvest Africa 2024 Forum concluded on July 4th with a resounding affirmation of commitment to leverage the blue economy for sustainable growth and job creation.

This year's event emphasized the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and economic growth, highlighting the vital role of the blue economy in Africa's future.

The forum saw participation from various stakeholders, including government officials, international investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers and blue economy enthusiasts.

Charlina Vitcheva, the Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries at the European Commission (DG MARE), praised the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

“This second edition here in Kenya has proven to be concrete, business-oriented, and committed to sustainability. I am truly proud of what we have achieved in these two days," she said.

The DG MARE also lauded the government of Kenya and all blue economy businesses for their efforts towards a more sustainable future.

DG MARE Charlina Vitcheva delivering her closing remarks at the BlueInvest Africa 2024. (Photo: Charlina Vitcheva X/Twitter)

Dr. Davies Makilla, Director of Blue Economy at the State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries, delivered Mining and Blue Economy CS Salim Mvurya’s speech pointing out the significant potential of the blue economy for wealth creation and employment.

“The Blue Economy represents a unique investment opportunity due to the sector's immense potential for wealth creation and employment, and its capacity to reduce poverty,” Makilla stated.

“The government of Kenya recognizes the sector's role as a key driver for Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the UN Agenda 2030. We continue to support initiatives to conserve and sustainably use ocean and marine resources for sustainable development,” he added.

The forum also underscored the role of technology in addressing challenges within the blue economy.

In a speech delivered by CS Mvurya on the opening day, President William Ruto highlighted Kenya's commitment to integrating technology into sustainable practices.

“Kenya is at the forefront of integrating technology into the blue economy. We recognize that technological advancements are pivotal in addressing some of the most pressing challenges we face, from marine pollution to sustainable fishing practices,” Mvurya read from President Ruto's speech.

“Technologies such as satellite monitoring, AI-driven analytics, and blockchain for supply chain transparency are revolutionizing the way we manage our marine resources,” the President added.

The forum facilitated over 720 business-to-business meetings, fostering new partnerships and financing opportunities.

The EU Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, emphasized the importance of these connections.

“The contacts you established here are much more important than what happens on stage. These are the connections and ideas you take home and follow up on, inspiring you to do more,” she noted.

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana and EU Ambassador to Kenya  Henriette Geiger following proceeding at the BlueInvest Africa 2024 Forum. (Photo Ali Amir)

Ambassador Geiger also spoke on the profitability of the blue economy while protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change.

The blue economy space is emerging not only in Africa but globally. There can be no green without blue. If we are not protecting our waters, we have no hope of mitigating climate change,” she said.

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana highlighted the forum's impact on regional innovation. “This forum has provided the continent with an opportunity to see what each of us is doing, offering valuable takeaways It has been a platform for exchanging knowledge among African countries,” he said.

He added: “The goal is to create a platform for sharing and identifying investable solutions. As leaders, we need to ensure that funding reaches the grassroots level, where innovation originates.”

One of the event's highlights was the recognition of outstanding pitchers who presented groundbreaking ideas poised to drive the blue economy forward.

Fatuma Mang’ena, one of the award-winning pitchers, expressed her excitement and gratitude, saying, “I feel happy and proud, and I'm so appreciative of my mentors who guided me through this journey to winning. The competition was big and intense, and to be recognized as one of the best pitchers makes me feel incredibly grateful.”

Fatuma reflected on her learning experience and plans to continue participating in similar events.

“Participating in this event has been a fantastic experience. I have gained valuable insights and made significant connections. I’m confident that by collaborating and partnering with others, we can achieve great things together,” she said.

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