The national government has set aside Sh1.1 billion to set up the East African Centre of Excellence for the Blue Economy in Kwale County.
The deal was announced in Kwale town Friday by Principal Secretaries Dr. Kevit Desai (East African Community) and Prof. Hamadi Boga (Crop Development and Agricultural Research).
They said the envisaged centre of excellence will in the long run ensure the efficient management and sustainable exploitation of resources in oceans, lakes and rivers also known as the blue economy.
The blue economy encompasses fisheries, maritime transport, renewable energy, tourism, climate change and waste management.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya who received the two PSs in his office said the decision to build the Centre of Excellence in his county was agreed upon after a series of engagements between the county government and the national government.
Mvurya stated that the Regional Centre will be constructed on a 40 acre piece of land at Kitsakamatsa in Kombani area of Matuga sub-county.
“This Centre of Excellence will be very useful in enhancing skills in the maritime sector and enhance food security,” said Mvurya.
He said already the county government of Kwale is in the process of finalizing the registration of a title deed in the name of the institution that will be hosted by the Kenya Coast Polytechnic.
Mvurya is optimistic that once completed, the East African Centre of Excellence for Blue Economy will not only create employment opportunities to the people of Kwale, but also impart skills to the youths and build the capacity of local stakeholders including fishermen.
“We are also drafting a memorandum of understanding between the county government of Kwale and the national government on how this project will benefit the people of Kwale as the hosts,” he said.
The governor observed that the enormous untapped potential for the making of a vibrant regional economy lies in the blue economy sector.
Dr. Desai thanked the local county government for its cooperation towards the achievement of this project that will commence soon and is expected to take two years to be completed.
He said that the project will consolidate the efforts by the county government of Kwale with respect to championing technical and vocational training, consolidating the entire value chain of skills from artisans, craftsmen and technologists with a view to promoting skills development, technology transfer as well as creation of new enterprises in the region.
The East African Community PS also stated that the new centre will focus on maritime logistics and marine transportation, which are two key areas in the blue economy concept.
“The East African Centre of Excellence for Blue Economy will at the same time focus on ensuring that we are able to adequately promote the necessary research, policy level and implementation that will benefits the East African community in general,” said Dr. Desai.
He further stated that this centre will directly help in the achievement of the Kwale County’s Integrated Development Plan with respect to blue economy, mining, agriculture and other key areas hence creating an opportunity to the youth to access employment.
By Hussein Abdullahi