- The government through the Ministry of Mining has been keen on ensuring we don’t export these minerals as a raw material.
- As a result, five value-addition sites have been completed in Voi, Vihiga, Elgeyo Marakwet and in Nairobi counties.
I got a lot of feedback from my article last week, emanating from the fact that not so many people were aware of what there is for the youth, the jobless and for those of us in our society who are vulnerable.
Today, we are going to do the same, by looking at our tourism, wildlife, mining and blue economies to help people to understand what is in it for them.
Tourism is the foreign exchange earner in our country. In fact, we pride ourselves as a very hospitable country, with our slogan ‘hakuna matata’ being a global catch phrase for international travel.
Our country is now visa-free meaning we shall have more visitors coming into our country going forward. For example, international arrivals have grown by 18.42 per cent in the last 16 months, meaning that our country received 273.412 more visitors. This means that more money was injected into the economy.
In fact, the number of days that tourists have spent in Kenya has increased by one day from 10 to 11 days. The more they stay, the more they spend. Actually, the country was able to rake in an additional Sh650 million from this sector alone, due to the fact that spending in hotels has also increased by 3 percent in bed occupancy.
Tourists come to Kenya primarily to see animals. The government is thus putting in place measures to ensure the endangered species don’t become extinct, such as the northern white rhino with a population of only two in the country. However, endangered elephants have increased by 692, while black rhinos have increased by 80.
Our country has also increased in the tourism sector. These graduates will help support this growing sector of the economy, whose full potential is yet to be realised.
For example, the Ronald Ngala Utalii College opened in June this year will have a capacity to train 5,000 youth at a go. The focus is to make the college a centre of excellence on export labour to countries such as Saudi Arabia that is building a new city, requiring 350,000 workers! This is indeed a great opportunity for those who are jobless!
Kenya is also becoming a popular destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition travel. Last year alone, our local and international conferences hit the 10,000 mark with an increase of 2,151 conferences, and more than 4,000 delegates from around the world attended.
In matters of justice, any way to resolve disputes out of courts is desirable. This is because it takes a lot of time for a matter to be heard and determined in court. However, the government through the Office of the Attorney General has been able to use Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve small claims for so many hustlers for sums of as much Sh15 million.
In addition, 4,055 cases have been settled between families, resulting in more than 3.1 billion worth of money being accessed by widows, widowers and other vulnerable members of the society such as persons with disabilities, without having to go to court.
Affording lawyers is not easy for many Kenyans. In fact, majority of the hustlers cannot pay or even understand the often complex legal processes in order for them to access justice. It is thus refreshing to know that 122,221 hustlers, who couldn’t pay for legal services, were given legal aid in civil, criminal and children’s matters by the government.
Our country is really endowed with many natural resources including minerals such as gemstones, gold, fluorspar, granite and so forth. The government through the Ministry of Mining has been keen on ensuring we don’t export these minerals as a raw material. As a result, five value-addition sites have been completed in Voi, Vihiga, Elgeyo Marakwet and in Nairobi counties for gold, gemstones and other minerals. This way, our miners will get more value from their labour, translating to higher incomes for them and also foreign exchange for the country.
Moreover, 869 youth were recruited last year alone to work on foreign ships, thus earning an income for their families in foreign currency. In addition, 621 Common Interest Groups comprising fishermen and other occupations within the blue economy were given grants amounting to Sh1.5 billion in the last one year to boost their businesses. Some of the beneficiaries are 50 Beach Management Units that have also been transformed to cooperative societies.
An example is the Mwakamba BMU in Diani that has helped restore the mangrove forest around the Kongo Estuary that drains into the Indian Ocean. In addition, 26 boats have been donated by the government to eight BMUs; while 875 fishermen have been training on how do deep sea fishing. This is important as Kenya has so many fish in the deep that go unexploited or are taken by other countries for free.
Further, 565 seaweed farmers have been trained in mariculture in Kwale county to enable them to conduct this form of farming in a more profitable manner. Whatever is not communicated, hasn’t happened! Now you know, smell the coffee.
The writer is the government spokesperson