By The Coast Newspaper Team
Kenya Ports Authority and Coast Media Group have resolved to partner with a view of highlighting emerging issues involving the region’s six counties and its peoples in the devolved system.
The media house, in a courtesy call at the authority’s headquarters on July 24, held talks with KPA head of corporate affairs Bernard Osero flanked by senior communication officer Sylvan Mghanga and public relations officer Anastasia Mwakio.
With its vision ‘to be a voice for the voiceless’, the group pledged to fill a gap left by the country’s mainstream media houses that usually give the region’s stories a wide berth especially concerning its remote areas.
Under an Act of Parliament of January 1978, the authority is mandated to manage and operate the Port of Mombasa and all scheduled seaports along Kenya’s coastline that include Lamu, Malindi, Kilifi, Mtwapa, Kiunga, Shimoni, Funzi and Vanga.
In addition, KPA manages Inland Waterways as well as Inland Container Depots at Embakasi, Eldoret and Kisumu.
Currently, the KPA management is in its final touches of revamping the Port of Kisumu that is expected to reopen the Lake Region yet again after years of neglect and abandonment following the collapse of the East African Community (EAC) in 1977.
With the construction of phase two of the Second Container Terminal and the first three berths of the Port of Lamu in progress, the authority envisages to increase the Port of Mombasa’s capacity to above 2.5 million TEUs by 2022.
The completion of the Port of Lamu will improve business links between Kenya and her neighbours of Ethiopia and South Sudan thereby opening a new transit corridor while the Port of Kisumu will improve socio-economic well-bing among the EAC countries tapping a market of over 200 million people.
CMG high-powered delegation led by Raymond Mwakwaya (operations), Khadija Yusuf (marketing), Charles Ogalo (editor/reporter) and Mwakera Mwajefa (editorial) pledged to highlight most of the KPA shipping and corporate social responsibility activities.
The CMG learned that the authority has invested enormously in improving education and health facilities in each of the coastal counties since 2000 but much of this work has gone unreported in the media.
According to Mr Osero the Corporate Social Investment plan was founded on three basic principles: (1) KPA was the single largest employer within the region thus need to invest in various community projects; (2) Coast region lacked in education facilities, especially primary schools and later extended to secondary level and (3) incorporate healthcare as a focus for the outreach programme through construction of health facilities and holding of medical camps.
“Everybody has a stake at the port because it has a bearing on the lives and livelihoods of many a people in this region, nationally and regionally,” he said and welcomed the CMG to come onboard.
Thus, the authority allocates two percent of its profits to needy causes with education and health projects receiving about 65 percent of this funding while the remainder earmarked for charities, disasters, relief funds and other worthy causes locally and nationally.
In order to capture this in CMG’s media platforms, Mr Mwakwaya promised to ensure maritime industry page is created on the online platforms and also the print media.
“You have an oasis of information that needs to reach the public of what KPA does as an entity for port business and also as entity to uplift its immediate surroundings,” he said adding that his media organisation is ready for the task when pen and paper completes partnership agreement.
Among planned projects include the relocation of Kipevu Oil Terminal to a more spacious site to construct a terminal that will accommodate four large tankers including a gas handling facility.
In order to improve the livelihood of the community in the maritime counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamus and to sustainably exploit the Blue Economy resources, the authority is planning to construct a fishing port at Shimoni and revamp all small ports along Lake Victoria.
All these are being developed with the objective of realising the country’s Vision 2030 and the achievement of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agendas.