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The Call for Action of the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 recognizes the contribution of the ocean to sustainable development and sustainable ocean-based economies.

Kenya is committed to the sustainable Blue Economy at the global and regional level. In her own right, Kenya is making immense developments in growing the Sector and its contribution to socio-economic development and improved livelihoods for its population.

On the global scene, Kenya is making her mark in advancing the development of the Blue Economy Sector. Some of Kenya’s contributions and commitments in this regard include:

  • In November 2018 Kenya, together with the international community organized and co-hosted with Canada and Japan the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC 2018);
  • Kenya is among the fourteen (14) founding member countries of the High-Level Panel on sustainable Ocean Economy, whose work has developed an overall defining and transformative strategy for the achievement of a Sustainable Ocean Economy. These ambitious and pragmatic recommendations are underpinned by a vision of protection, production and equitable prosperity, that is being adopted globally targeting the realization of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
  • It is also the champion of the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Blue Economy, whose aim is to aid efforts to develop innovative and lasting solutions to the development of sustainable blue economies;
  • Kenya is also a member of the Global Ocean Alliance which targets to have 30% of its waters under national jurisdiction under highly protected marine protected areas by 2030, which is one of the commitments by the High-Level Panel on sustainable Blue Economy; and
  • Further, Kenya is a member of the Ocean Decade Alliance that is instrumental in catalysing support for the United Nations Ocean Decade of Science where H.E the President is the Patron on the invitation of UNESCO. 

Fisheries and blue economy:


The country continues to make and apply targeted legal/regulatory/policy/institutional frameworks geared towards sustainable fisheries and promotion of fisheries related developments. Towards achieving SDG 14.4 and promoting sustainable exploitation and management of ocean resources.

Kenya joined the global effort to fight Illegal Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing by ratifying the FAO Port State Measures’ Agreement (PSMA) of 2009 to deter, prevent and eliminate IUU Fishing in 2017 and has domesticated this instrument through the Fisheries Management and Development Act 2016. The new law has prohibitive penalties for IUU crimes which ensure that net benefit from IUU fishing is less than zero. Kenya has domesticated and is implementing measures that will ensure effective implementation of PSMA measures, for example, establishment of fish ports at Liwatoni, Mombasa County and Shimoni, Kwale County; and developing modern landing sites at Ngomeni and Kichwa cha Kati in Kilifi County; Kibuyuni, Vanga, and Gazi in Kwale County; for onboard and port inspections by inter-agencies, acquisition of patrol vessels, Construction of a Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) at Liwatoni in Mombasa County and managed by Kenya Coast Guard Service (KCGS) in Mombasa County

Command Centre Installed with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and AIS (Automatic Identification System) to protect EEZ resources and detect non-compliance, operationalization of inter-agency corporation and Coast Guard Services.

The country is also actively implementing FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and Ecosystem based fisheries management through development and implementation of Fisheries Management Plans (Four (4) are already in place namely Prawn Management Plan, Small and Medium Pelagic fishery Management Plan, Lobster Management Plan and Aquarium Fishery Management Plan  community co-management area management plans, Beach Management Units (BMUs) capacity building for data capture, analysis and interpretation and enhanced capability for research in fisheries and aquaculture through acquisition of research vessel R.V. Mtafiti.

Kenya is also a member of several Regional Fisheries Management Organizations: Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) for Tuna fisheries, and South Western Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) and Nairobi Convention.  Such a cooperation has enhanced regional level in and management by conducting joint stock assessment surveys, joint patrols and information sharing.

The Fisheries Management and Development Act 2016 requirement that total fish catch taken from Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) on yearly basis by purse seiners and longliners 30% each while shrimp trawlers  70% and 5% of the bycatch and of shrimp must be landed at the coast to provide food and nutrition security, implementation of a Fleet capacity development programme requiring 51% shareholding by Kenyan nationals as well as a requirement that  47% of the fishing crew must be Kenyan nationals for all fishing vessels flying Kenyan flags and fishing in the offshore  are deliberate efforts by the government to ensure that the locals become active participants and beneficiaries of our marine and ocean resources, in line with SDG 14 target 14.b.

The country has developed and in the process of developing other policy documents;

  • I.   Blue Economy Investment Hand book 2021,
  • ii.   Brochures on Blue Economy Sensitization (Primary and Secondary Schools) 2020
  • iii.   Register of Fishers “Blue Book” for the Indian Ocean 2019
  • iv.   Blue Economy Master Plan 2017,
  • v.    Enactment of the Kenya Coast Service Act 2018,
  • vi.    Establishment of the Kenya Fishing Industries Corporation,
  • vii.   Establishment of Kenya Shipyard Limited,
  • viii.  Conducted a Marine Fish Stock Assessments for commercial fish species,
  • ix.   Developing an Integrated Marine Spatial Plan,
  • x.    Developing a Blue Economy Strategy,
  • xi.    Developing Marine Fisheries (Access and Development) Regulations, and
  • xii.   Reviewing the National Oceans and Fisheries Policy 2008.




2.1   Rationale for circular economy


Blue Economy and Circular Economy concepts are inter- connected. A healthy and vibrant aquatic ecosystem is dependent on absence of pollutants such as waste, heat and eutrophication among others.

Circular Economy considers waste as a resource and raw material for making other new products. Reduction, recovery and conversion of waste into valuable products contributes to reduced spillage and hence regeneration of marine ecosystems.

Since coastal areas attracts higher populations and urban development, circular economy can play a major role in providing ocean ecosystem solutions (restoration, biodiversity protection) as well as climate resilience. The linkage between coastal areas and inland areas through rivers and storm water also calls for emphasis on whole ecosystem approach in implementation of circular economy.

2.2  Circular economy interventions in Kenya


1.   The Ministry of Environment and Forestry is pursuing several strategies to support the paradigm shift from a linear to circular economy in accordance with SDGs, such as

  • a. In 2007 the government imposed a 120% excise duty on polythene bags followed by ban of the bags below 30 microns in 2008.
  • b.  Kenya Green Economy Assessment Report of 2014 projected that by 2030, gross domestic product (GDP) could be 12% higher by taking a green growth pathway compared with continuing a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario.
  • c.  Based on this report, Kenya developed Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP: 2016-2030) which is guiding the country’s transition to green growth and circular economy pathway.
  • d.  The National Climate Finance Policy (2018) prioritized the need to mobilize and manage carbon finance.
  • e.  The National Climate Change Framework Policy (2018) - aims at ensuring the integration of climate change considerations into planning, budgeting, implementation, and decision-making at the National and County levels.
  • f.  The Climate Change Act, 2016 - establishes the Climate Change Fund, offering a financing mechanism for priority actions and interventions.
  • g.  The National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022) provides concrete actions to be taken by all sectors to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
  • h.  In 2017, Kenya prohibited the manufacture, retail, distribution and importation of plastic carrier and flat bags for commercial and household packaging. The ban promoted the use of alternative bags that are less harmful to the environment after end of life.
  • i.  The ban on the use of single-use plastics in parks and nature areas (2020) enhanced pollution control within our protected areas. This ban is in force and our protected areas are now cleaner.
  • j.  The Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill, 2021 emphasizes on circularity in the management of wastes and emphasize a transition from linear to circular economy.
  • k.  The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, 2021 implements the Polluter Pay Principle for selected 30 products and packaging considered of greater harm to the environment.
  • l.  The Green Public Procurement Framework, 2021 intends to incentivize private sector’s transition to manufacturing of green products and services.
  • m.  Kenya Private Sector players are part of the global community that are signatories to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment that represent over 20 per cent of plastic packaging used globally.
  • n.  On 4th December 2019, the Private sector launched the Kenya Plastics Action Plan, with a commitment to take responsibility of the waste they generate from their products and packaging through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

2.  All these policies will contribute to the transition to green economy through decarbonising the industry, creating green products, and services and business models that will underpin our future low-carbon economy.

2.3  Partnership requests

Kenya requests for partnerships in the following areas 

  • a)  Technical assistance to expand the scope of circular economy beyond the waste management to cover the entire economic drivers
  • b)  Assistance to implement Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill especially on development of appropriate infrastructure such as Material Recovery Facilities, composting facilities, recycling and sanitary landfills.
  • c)  Assist the Kenyan private sector to establish an effective Producer Responsibility Organization and EPR schemes; setting up of targets and development of appropriate guidelines.
  • d)  Support in capacity building and raising public awareness on circular economy
  • e)  Technology transfer to foster transition to circular economy.






The pictures showcase a sample of the array of activities within the Blue Economy space in Kenya, ranging from Maritime Transport; Tourism, Culture and Leisure, to Fisheries and Aquaculture sub-sectors.


It is clear that the ocean economy is a smart investment that can deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to our people. As such, Kenya is keen to fully realize the potential of its 142,400 square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone. However, as we do so, we will steadfastly protect our marine resources even as we pursue its enhanced development and productivity," H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta


One of the core pillars to realize the prosperity in the Kenyan Coast and Kenya as a whole is the blue economy value chains which is viewed as a lucrative and untapped area that can easily transform the coastal region. The Kenyan Coastal region is a blue economy melting pot with a unique blend of maritime and general trade, agriculture- fisheries, horticulture, livestock and large scale farming, heritage, tourism from the sea and the famous Tsavo Park. With the vast shared resources, a unique culture and a common historical foundation, there is a lot of untapped potential across all sectors from manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, extractives, real estate, among others.


The Government has invested in various programmes within the Blue Economy space in Kenya, ranging from Maritime Transport; Tourism, Culture and Leisure, to Fisheries and Aquaculture sub-sectors.


In particular, the Government has invested heavily in development of the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mombasa which will include, among other facilities, a fish processing plant with cold storage; a state-of-the-art fishing port; and an Ultra-Modern Tuna Hub which will process 50 MT of frozen fish per day, 25 MT of canned tuna loins per day and also provide 1000 MT cold storage capacity for fish products. 









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