The blue economy sector has the potential of contributing over 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, the government has revealed.
Principal Secretary in the state Department of Shipping and Maritime Nancy Karigithu pointed out that the industry has vast potential, adding that it will contribute a bigger percentage of the country’s GDP should it be fully explored.
The PS said for Kenyans to realize the full potential of the sector Maritime education and training is key.
She was speaking in Mombasa during the signing of a contract to establish Kenya’s first Maritime Education and Training support program bringing together Kenya Maritime Authority and the Higher Education Loans Board.
Karigithu said “the Maritime Education and Financial Training Support Program will provide maritime students with appropriate skills and knowledge relevant in the sector. If fully explored the sector can contribute over 10 percent of the country’s GDP,”
At the same time, Higher Education Loans Board Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera noted that the MET program will equip maritime students with appropriate knowledge in blue economy matters.
The HELB Boss explained that the training will produce a cohort of maritime experts not only in the country but also with international repute.
He further lauded already selected maritime students on board overseas ships saying they have brought glory to this country.
“The training is for the betterment of the country. We are training a crew of maritime experts not only in this country but also with international recognition,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Bandari Maritime Authority Acting Director Francis Muraya called on other stakeholders to come on board and assist in financing maritime students.
He cites Cost as an impediment to students studying maritime engineering courses.
“A maritime engineering student pays over 480,000 annually. We are supposed to produce close to 2000 maritime students every year,” said the director.
Kenya Maritime Authority Director General Robbert Njue said the support in the form of scholarships, bursaries, and loans targets vulnerable and marginalized groups.
He further points out that the support targets priority cadres critical to the development of the maritime sector.
“The financial support will be accessible to beneficiaries who have the requisite qualification for grant of the loan bursaries and scholarships,” noted the DG.
KMA is mandated with the responsibility to monitor, regulate and coordinate activities in the maritime industry in line with the Merchant Shipping Act 2009.