President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed Education secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich to set up a hub for maritime training in one of the public universities as the country turns to its water bodies for growth.
The centre is expected to create a large pool of professionals for export and to guide the country’s quest for increased economic activity at its ports and waterways.
“I am sure the ministry responsible for education will establish a centre of excellence at one of the public universities that will provide specialised training for the maritime industry,” the President said at the launch of a maritime conference in Nairobi on Monday.
Kenya’s maritime industry, which heavily relies on Mombasa port, accounts for 92 per cent of the country’s trade volume with global markets. The port city serves most of the landlocked markets in Eastern Africa.
At the moment, the country has had to hire expatriates or spend millions of shillings to train personnel in foreign countries to man its sea-based facilities.
Mr Kenyatta’s announcement comes in the wake of increased off-shore exploration of gas and drilling in Lamu, development of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) corridor and construction of a new container terminal at Mombasa port, which will require huge logistics and manpower capacity.
“Special attention must be paid to education and training, so that our skills match the infrastructure we are building,” the head of State said adding that the government was keen to strike deals with private investors in offering quality training.
Kenya’s maritime territory covers 230,000 square kilometres — an equivalent of about 31 out of the 47 counties. But lack of an accredited curriculum in institutions offering seafaring courses has slowed down efforts to boost the country’s stock of human capital.
This realisation has recently seen the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and Technical Industrial Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training establish linkages with learning institutions to plug the gaps.