By Shirley Wandera & Ian Kiptoo
Hervé Berville, the French Minister of the Seas, also known as “Ministre français de la Mer,” took center stage in an exclusive masterclass on the Blue Economy for the youth at Swahili Pot Hub in Mombasa.
Minister Berville not only shared his deep expertise but also engaged with the young minds, underscoring the critical importance of the blue economy in today’s world and how it holds the key to a sustainable maritime future.
He passionately encouraged advocacy against human activities that harm marine biodiversity and urged the youth in Mombasa to assume a leadership role in preserving the ocean.
Berville stressed, “We must recognize that protecting marine biodiversity should be a top priority. Those of you living near the sea, witnessing erosion, rising sea levels, and declining fish populations, have a pivotal role in championing ocean conservation as a priority.”
Highlighting the significance of maritime activities in economic sovereignty, the French minister emphasized the critical role of seas in global trade and data transmission.
“Approximately 80% of international trade flows through the world’s seas, while nearly 90% of data on cellphones is transmitted via submarine cables. What happens beneath the sea’s surface holds the key to strategic economic sustainability, facilitating the advancement of industrialization through the blue economy and blue finance. This involves modernizing vessels and accelerating the adoption of alternative fuels to ensure a sustainable maritime economy with reduced reliance on fossil fuels,” he stated.
Hervé Berville extended a warm invitation to the youth to participate in the 2025 United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC) in Nice, France. He emphasized the significance of their voices in shaping the future of the blue economy and environmental conservation.
Arnaud Suquet, the French ambassador to Kenya, was also present at the event and delivered a heartfelt speech in Kiswahili. He commended Mahmoud Noor, the Chief Mentor of the hub, for serving as a beacon of hope for the youth in Mombasa and for his dedicated efforts in fostering discussions related to the blue economy.
The masterclass concluded with a dynamic panel discussion that featured significant contributors, including the Big Ship Community-Based Organization (CBO), Blue Earth Organization, and the County Government of Mombasa. The discussion revolved around the challenges and opportunities in the blue economy confronting coastal communities.