Youths in the country have been advised to take up maritime education and practical training courses to acquire skills that would enable them to tap on the millions of job opportunities in the Blue Economy.
Speaking in Kisumu, Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary (PS), Nancy Karigithu, said the government has immensely contributed to revitalizing the maritime sector which has the potential of employing millions of trained and qualified youths.
According to the PS, maritime education and training prepare young people for a future in careers in the blue industry.
The government official urged the society to invest more in the youth to get training on the maritime economy to give them quality, well-paying and lifelong career jobs.
“Young people are at the core of the future. Let us invest in them in large numbers to help spur economic growth when they will be absorbed in the ever developing sector,” said Karigithu.
Karigithu further called on Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education (KCSE) top brass candidates who scored Grade A to also make use of the maritime sector and consider training on these courses just like all other students to find a footprint in the blue gig.
“Every year after KCSE results, the number that joins the university is less than a third, the remaining two thirds, how much can we achieve in the blue economy if we invested in them?” she asked.
The international maritime sector offers scholarship opportunities for the young trainees in Kenya and beyond to travel abroad to advance their knowledge and sharpen their skills in a specialized area.
“The world will always need young people who are well trained and disciplined in the maritime sector if you get the opportunity, go out there to learn but bring back home the experience you acquire to help in developing the sector in your motherland,” the PS said.
Kenya has made bigger strides in ensuring that the maritime and shipping sector is taking center stage on the continent by spearheading capacity building with countries that have a focus on the industry.
Furthermore, Karigithu emphasized the need to commercialize activities on the lakes and ocean. The investors in the sector need to buy bigger boats as opposed to the small dugout canoes to effectively utilize the natural resources.
“We need to be able to go longer distance because that is where will find more valuable natural resources and also catch more meaning it will be cost effective and also keep our fishermen safe from accidents,” she noted.
Karigithu appealed to other sectors like insurance, banking and road transport to move to the other side and see the potential booming economic activities to also take part in better use of the resources God has endowed us with.
Upon realization of the major opportunities, the Blue Economy holds, President Uhuru Kenyatta, removed maritime affairs from other Departments and created a standalone that is more focused to relook at the issues of the Blue Economy.
In addition, the sector was integrated as one of the eight sectors of economic pillars of vision 2030 with a target to contribute 10 percent annually to the national economy.
“Blue Economy is huge, if we properly utilize the available opportunities then we will reach vision 2030 way before and surpass the national economic goals,” the PS revealed.
The area covered by water in Kenya is equivalent to the area that would occupy another 34 counties which is a huge opportunity for economic development.
The PS was speaking during the Kisumu Maritime Summit held at the Impala Sanctuary. The discussion summit was aimed at initiating conversations on investment opportunities in the Lake Region.
By Robert Ojwang’