Seafarers to gain from KCB loan deal

State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Nancy Karigithu. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Kenyan seafarers will benefit from a three-year partnership between Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) aimed at giving them skills that will enable them to secure overseas jobs on vessels.

Some Sh155 million has been set aside to be disbursed to seafarers as bursaries.

Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Nancy Karigithu disclosed that the arrangement will see the youth receive safety training in shipping and maritime.

Dr Karigithu acknowledged the need for more private-public partnerships to enable the youth to take advantage of available maritime opportunities.

"We will play our role in licensing the qualified youth following their training and thereafter oversee their transition into the maritime industry and overall welfare. Given our youthful population we aim to position the country as a hub for maritime vessels across the globe," she said.

The PS noted that the youth will be trained in accredited technical vocational training institutions vetted by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA).

"There is an unemployment crisis in the country. We look at this crisis not as a challenge but an opportunity for us to be innovative and get into other areas of production such as tapping into the maritime sector to increase our GDP," she said.

According to KCB Director of Retail Annastacia Kimtai the efforts are in line with KCB's commitment to tackling youth unemployment through a sustainable approach focused on providing opportunities for youth to thrive.

"Our end goal is to unlock access to seafarers' jobs in the international maritime fleets for our youth and provide a bridge to finance," said Ms Kimtai.

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