Kwale is to host a Sh1.2 billion regional institute for developing experts in the maritime and blue economy sectors.
The National Polytechnic on Blue Economy will be situated at Chitsakamatsa in Kombani area and construction is expected to take two years.
Speaking when he received the title deed for the 40-acre parcel of land from Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, Education CS George Magoha said the government is determined to unlock a sustainable, inclusive and resilient blue economy, which he termed the next frontier of development for coastal counties.
“The institution was competitively selected by the government and the World Bank to be a regional flagship marine transport and port logistics centre under the East African Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project,” the CS said.
The blue economy institution that will be a centre of excellence for the East African region will be tasked with nurturing skills to help tap the huge potential of the oceanic resources.
“It is my hope that through the county bursary program locals will benefit in a big way on maritime-related courses,” Prof Magoha added.
Governor Mvurya said the institute will specialise in training marine transport and port logistics on the blue economy.
Besides opening up Kwale economically for high-end investment, Mvurya said the centre will in the long run ensure the efficient management and sustainable exploitation of marine resources.
The blue economy encompasses fisheries, maritime transport, renewable energy, tourism, climate change and waste management.
“Our youth and residents from Kwale and the coastal region will have an opportunity to pursue maritime courses that will make them competitive in the job market. The establishment of the institution will economically open this region and the people surrounding the institute should start thinking about investing in the area,” he said.
The institution is expected to serve Kenya, and neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.
“I want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for making sure we realise this dream of having a Blue Economy institution in Kwale county,” said Mvurya, adding that the European Union is pumping Sh2.5 billion to support the Go-Blue economy projects in the coastal counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu.
He said part of the funds will be used to train 2,000 youth in various skills including shipping, maritime, logistics and warehousing, nautical science, among other competence courses related to the blue economy sector.
The CS was accompanied by Education Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor Hassan and Vocational and Technical Training PS Margaret Mwakima.