Mombasa, 17 May 2023 – The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) today proceeded with the official delivery of 26 boats, acquired through the 'Go Blue' Program financed by the European Union, to the governors of the Counties of Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu, who have committed to transfer them to fishermen five cooperatives ('Beach Management Unit') distributed on the counties bordering the Indian Ocean in Kenya. The ceremony, which was attended by the Head of the Nairobi Office of Aics, Giovanni Grandi, was attended by the Vice-President of Kenya, Rigathi Gachagua and the Representative of the European Union in Kenya, Henriette Geiger, at the head of a Delegation of ten Ambassadors of as many EU member states, together with Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Mines, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Salim Mvurya, as well as the three Governors of the partner counties.
In Kenya, the shortage of boats and fishing equipment available to community organizations that manage fisheries locally, the Beach Management Units, forces fishermen to turn to intermediaries for boat rentals, often at high costs. Thanks to funding from the European Union, Italian cooperation through Go Blue is intervening in the weakest phases of the artisanal fishing chain: a series of interventions is planned, including infrastructural works, training for fishermen, the introduction of a labelling system that certifies the quality of the fish on the market.
'The delivery of the boats represents a milestone for the Italian component of Go Blue', said Giovanni Grandi, owner of the Aics office in Nairobi. 'We believe that this can increase the activities and income of the partner cooperatives. We are also working together with our technical partner CIHEAM Bari on the design of a revolving fund-like boat management scheme, which will allow supplied vessels to generate capital and enable fishermen to acquire additional boats. It is our shared responsibility to ensure that the resources of the blue economy are used in the most sustainable way,' he concluded.
'Go Blue has put coastal communities and their needs at the heart of our interventions, with its three different interconnected components, all aimed at achieving sustained economic growth, protecting the environment and adapting to challenges related to urbanisation', declared the European Union Representative in Kenya, Henriette Geiger. 'The European Union is giving central importance to the development of the blue economy, and we are present to provide our support'.
At the conclusion of the event, the Vice-President of Kenya Rigathi Gachagua wanted to thank the European Union 'for the great support it is giving to our country and to our people. We don't take that for granted and we're very grateful for that."