Exploring the role of China, Japan and India in the East Africa Blue Economy

Image: Flickr, UN Photo Evan Schneider

This paper examines the role of China, Japan and India in East African development, focusing specifically on Kenya and Tanzania. Of particular concern is the regional Blue Economy, which encompasses economic, social and environmental concerns related to maritime industries and, according to the approach adopted by the African Union, also inland water bodies.

East Africa’s coastal states are attracting increasing attention from global economic powers, not only for the opportunities within these economies themselves, but also for the access they provide through transport corridors to landlocked states in the African hinterland. This engagement is reflected in broader regional economic programmes such as China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and Japan and India’s Asia Africa Growth Corridor.

There are significant opportunities related to the development of trade and infrastructure within the East African Blue Economy, but this will require addressing trade imbalances and strengthening governance to ensure that investments contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.