State sets up Sh70 million marine research centre in Kilifi

Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi. [File, Standard]

The government has embarked on a Sh70 million plan to construct a marine and Coastal research centre at the Malindi Marine National Park.

Construction work has already begun and the project is expected to be ready in the next six months, according to Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi who toured the site over the weekend.

She thanked the government for choosing Malindi saying the project will create training and job opportunities once complete.

Mnyazi who was accompanied by the Wetlands and Marine Reserves (WRTI) Coastal and Marine Research Centre head Dr Mohamed Omar and Kenya Wildlife Service senior officials said that her visit was aimed at understanding projects that were being implemented by the national government in her constituency.

“My happiness is that we were lucky to get the research centre project, apart from that I have heard there are bigger plans to set up a college here,” she said.

The lawmaker, a member of Parliamentary Committee for Blue Economy said that she would push for funding to support the project.

She said the research centre will include laboratories and offices and promised to ensure the project is allocated funds.

“I came here to support the project and see how we can work together for development purposes,” she said.

Mnyazi said jobs created would be advertised in the constituency and ward offices so that those who qualify can apply and benefit from the project.

Dr Omar said that the centre will head the research agenda for WRTI in the entire Coast region from Vanga to Kiunga.

“So, we will be doing marine and coastal research as you know our ecosystems at the Coast are very rich in terms of biodiversity. It is one of the richest in the country. It includes Shimba Hills National Reserve in Kwale, Arabuko Sokoke in Kilifi and Dodori forest in Lamu,” he said.

Omar said that the coastal marine environment is very unique adding that under the blue economy, there are opportunities that can be realized from the Marine environment which they want to spearhead as an institute.

He added that the centre will act as a training institute to enhance capacity and benefit from the blue economy agenda.

“This is a very good centre that is coming up and I hope it will play a very crucial role in driving the blue economy agenda,” he said.

He said that by August 2024 they hope to start operations as the offices will be ready.  Omari said he expects the project to help ensure the country benefits in wildlife conservation.