Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday launched a maritime academy in the coastal city of Mombasa as part of efforts to position the blue economy sector as a key driver of the country’s transformation.
The Bandari Maritime Academy aims at bridging the huge shortage of qualified seafarers in Kenya and the region to meet the needs of the emerging blue economy sector.
“The Academy is expected to become a top supplier of world class seafarers for shipping lines all over the world,” Kenyatta said during the launch.
He also announced a raft of reforms the government is undertaking to secure both local and international seafaring jobs for Kenyan youth.
Kenyatta said the new institution will be key in equipping young Kenyans with the requisite skills and knowhow to enable them to compete favorably for employment opportunities in the vast blue economy sector.
It is estimated that blue economy, if properly harnessed, has the potential to inject up to 380 billion shillings (4.8 billion U.S. dollars) to Kenya’s economy and create over 52,000 jobs in the next 10 years.
Kenyatta said the Bandari Maritime Academy will partner with the Kenya Utalii College, the Kisumu Maritime Centre and also establish twinning arrangements with the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Training Academy based in Naples, Italy.
“I am confident that the enhanced training will bring out the best in our talented young people,” said Kenyatta.
He said the transformation of the college into a centre of excellence in maritime training and research is envisaged to facilitate the country’s quest to reap maximum benefits from the blue economy sector, an agenda that the President has given undivided attention.
Bandari Maritime Academy will provide advanced education and training to appropriately qualified candidates, leading to the award of diplomas and certificates and other such qualifications.
“We are, indeed, emerging in the world as a rising maritime nation,” Kenyatta said.