NAIROBI– The African Union Commission (AUC) has presented an award to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta for successfully hosting the world’s first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, which ended in Nairobi on Wednesday.

AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat presented the award to President Kenyatta for his role in hosting the world’s first blue economy conference, attended by some 16,320 delegates, including Heads of State and Government, city mayors, Governors and Ministers from around the world, the President’s office said.

President Kenyatta was honoured for mobilizing and bringing the world together for a successful and historic conference which is being attended by delegates from 170 countries.

Mahamat commended Kenyatta for taking a leading role in driving Africa’s Blue Economy agenda as well as in ensuring that the continent harnesses its rightful share of marine resources.

While accepting the award during a banquet hosted by the AUC in honour of the Heads of State and Government, and delegates attending the conference, President Kenyatta said Kenya is proud to push a global agenda to ensure Africa benefits from the expansive and highly lucrative blue economy.

Africa’s Blue Economy resources have been exploited by others and it’s now time for Africans to come together to harness the remaining resources, Kenyatta said.

Africa has not benefited from this depleting resource. The continent needs to come together to exploit the remaining resources for the benefit of the continent and the future of mankind, President Kenyatta said.

He said his government will continue working closely with the AU towards a successful blue economy agenda. He thanked the AUC for the award saying the honour belongs to the great people of Kenya.

The AUC awards were presented in three categories to recognize countries, associations and individuals who have made significant contributions towards Africa’s blue economy agenda.

Besides President Kenyatta’s award (described as special and the most important), other African leaders recognized as champions of the continent’s blue economy campaign were the presidents of Togo and Seychelles Danny Faure who was present, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius.

The AUC also recognized Canada for co-hosting the Nairobi conference alongside Japan.

The AUC chairperson said the blue economy agenda was important to the African continent adding that 90 per cent of Africa’s exports are transported through maritime routes.

This is why our Heads of State and government have decided to prioritize the Blue Economy, he told the delegates.

He said the blue economy was a new frontier for Africa and thanked President Kenyatta for taking a leading role in its promotion.

The AUC chair called for prudent management of the resource and respect for the marine ecosystem which he termed as a blessing.

The three-day conference ended Wednesday with resolutions to guide Africa on how to harness, protect, sustain and manage its marine resources.