Bandari Maritime Academy (BMA) has entered a partnership with a top French shipping company to improve training of seafaring cadets.
The deal signed between the Kenyan and French governments on Thursday will see the cadets trained aboard vessels belonging to CMA - CGM Shipping Line.
Part of the agreement also involves training of tutors through an exchange programme between BMA and CMA-CGM Shipping Line.
BMA has 400 students pursuing various courses.
Shipping and Maritime Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu, who spoke after the signing ceremony, said the arrangement is meant to enhance the quality of training at the college.
"The government is aware of the immense opportunities in the shipping and maritime sector. We are also keen to see the growth of the blue economy even as we develop the vast maritime space. Kenya is in the process of revitalizing the country's maritime spaces," Dr Karigithu said.
She added: "Indeed, blue economy has been recognized as the eighth sector that is expected to contribute 10 per cent of the country's GDP under the economic pillars of Kenya’s development blueprint, the Kenya Vision 2030."
Karigithu said there is urgent need for highly skilled and qualified maritime personnel to realise the benefits of initiatives meant to grow our blue economy.
"This aligns well with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on quality education, SDG 13 on climate, SDG 14 on life below water and SDG 17 on partnerships for sustainable development," she said.
The event was attended by French Ambassador to Kenya Ms Aline Kuster-Menagarer.
BMA board chairman Kinandu Muragu termed the deal timely saying will benefit students who will now get the much needed real sea time exposure.
The college’s principal Francis Muraya lauded efforts by the government to ensure the institution becomes a regional centre of maritime excellence.
CMA-CGM Managing Director-Africa Jean Baptist Longin, who signed the deal on behalf of the French shipping giant, said they were initially taken aback when they found out that none of their crews or students aboard their fleets were Kenyan.
"Your nation is known to have a very solid youth who are enterprising and highly skilled. We remain confident the absorption of Kenyan crew will bring quality and experience. We are already looking forward to this collaboration," Mr Longin said.
Others who graced the occasion were National Treasury Chief Administrative Officer Nelson Gaichuhie and Principal Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga.
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