Researchers at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have been challenged to initiate new research and training frontiers aimed at supporting the maritime industry, currently one of the fastest growing and promising sectors with the potential to accelerate Kenya’s economic development.
Nancy Karigithu, Director General, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), says annual container traffic flow at the port of Mombasa exceeds 15 million tonnes of cargo, accounting for Kshs. 83 billion worth of business enterprises. Speaking at a Management training Seminar in Mombasa, Wednesday, October 17, Karigithu was of the opinion that Maritime services now required investment in research and training, a function she said, JKUAT would easily fulfill.
The KMA Chief Executive Officer paid tribute to JKUAT for initiating collaboration with her institution thus enabling the University to establish the only undergraduate programme in Marine Engineering in Kenya. This, she said, was in line with a recent workshop held in Kenya which brought together Maritime Authorities’ officials in Africa. The Maritime workshop participants underlined the need for maritime authorities in Africa to forge greater collaborations with Universities to exploit maritime resources to foster Africa’s development.
She reminded the University, Kenya’s coastal waters extended a distance of 200 miles across the Indian Ocean which had not been exploited. She called on JKUAT researchers to enlarge existing collaboration to develop the untapped sea resources.
And speaking at the same occasion, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the Vice Chancellor, assured the two coastal collaborators, KMA and Kenya Coconut Development Authority (KCDA) of JKUAT‘s resolve to foster joint research and training to promote development in the coastal region. She said through the joint venture with KMA, JKUAT’s Marine Engineering program had attracted 38 pioneering students now in their third year of study. Plans are underway, the Vice Chancellor announced, for JKUAT to launch Diploma and Certificate programmes in Marine Engineering.
Furthermore, the Vice Chancellor added, “JKUAT together with Kenya Coconut Development Authority were jointly pursuing a number of research activities to develop the coconut industry through value addition”.
The function attended by Deputy Vic Chancellors, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Prof. Francis Njeruh and Prof. Esther Kahangi, was also addressed by Dr. Francis Fondo, Managing Director, KCDA; Mr. Tom Anjere, Kisauni District Commissioner and Mr. Edward Gichana of City Council of Mombasa.