Japan pledges to partner with Kenya in Maritime Security

Japan has pledged to invest in Kenya’s blue economy through maritime security and modernization of the port of Mombasa.

Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Ryoichi Horie said there was need to harness the potential of Kenya’s oceans and seas to improve the lives of the people of the two countries.

Speaking when he met Deputy President William Ruto, at his Karen office, Nairobi, on Wednesday, Mr Horie said his country would continue to help Kenya in the improvement of the Mombasa port.

He said Japan was keen to working with Kenya for the benefit of the citizens of the two countries, saying the country is the ideal ‘gateway’ to Africa.

Mr Horie said the modernization of the Mombasa port will contribute to the industrialization and economic development of Kenya, noting that Japan will continue to contribute to realization of Kenya’s industrializations as set out in the Vision 2030.

“Japan will work closely with Kenya to secure its ocean-based economy and ensure there are no maritime security threats,” he said.

He praised the existing bilateral relations between Kenya and Japan, saying more efforts must be done to take the two nations to the next level on matters of development.

“The recent Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD) event that was held in this country further strengthened our bilateral relations. We will do more on the development of the Mombasa Port and the promotion of the blue economy,” said Ambassador Horie.

He emphasized on the need for Kenya to ensure there was no illegal fishing across the vast oceans, noting that the activity posed a threat to Kenya’s blue economy.

Dr Ruto on his part said Kenya appreciates support from the Japanese government as part of the ongoing efforts to expand the country’s blue economy.

He said Kenya was committed to working with Japan among other development partners to bring about development that can create jobs among other opportunities for the youth.

Dr Ruto said the two countries were working together on harnessing the potential of Kenya’s waters as well as leveraging on maritime security to build a strong blue economy.

At the same time, the Deputy President, said the Government would continue with the expansion and modernization of the Mombasa Port to meet the world-class status.

He said the port remains key component of strategy in managing the country’s imports and exports.

“We are expanding and modernizing operations at the Mombasa port because this is critical in ensuring efficiency in our transport system,” said Dr Ruto.

“Japan has indeed been a great partner on issues of the port. We must conclude the issues of Dongo Kundu as part of efforts to ensure successful infrastructure to support imports and exports strategy,” he added.

He noted that the special economic zone is part of the Vision 2030 aimed at creating jobs among other opportunities in the region.

Meanwhile, Dr Ruto has called on the need to address the trade imbalance between the two countries, saying it was currently heavily in favour of Japan.

He said the implementation of the Big Four agenda would be an opportunity for Kenya to access Japanese markets on agricultural produce with value addition.

He underscored the need to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve endangered species, adding that the two countries would continue to work together in eliminating illegal fishing.