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Colleges and institutes to support Kenya’s emerging blue economy

Nairobi, November 24, 2022 – Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is pleased to announce a brand-new project in support of Kenya’s economic diversification. The Kenya Blue Economy Skills Training Program (KBEST) will generate employment and economic growth—particularly for youth and women—while preserving the health of oceans and water systems for future generations of Kenyans. 

This seven-year, $25 million project is funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by CICan in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Education and in collaboration with other key ministries and government agencies, the private sector and civil society. It will focus on building skills in Kenya’s workforce that are needed to establish the country as a competitive presence in the global blue economy. In particular, KBEST will emphasize training for women, youth, and vulnerable populations in fields and subsectors of the blue economy that have the greatest potential for formal employment and self-employment.  

KBEST will also contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by forging new partnerships that will leave a lasting impact in Kenya and create promising pathways to education and employment for young Kenyans. 

Using CICan’s flagship Education for Employment approach to partnership, KBEST will connect Kenyan technical and vocational training (TVET) institutions in coastal and Lake Victoria regions with colleges and institutes from across Canada to enhance the capacity of the Kenyan institutions to deliver skills training programs that meet international standards and respond to the emerging needs and opportunities for industry and for young women and men in the growing blue economy. Specifically, the program will work with key Technical Training Institutions as regional blue economy TVET hubs and with county level vocational training institutions that will deliver the training to students. It will also engage Kenya’s national technical training institutions and the private sector to identify skills gaps, develop occupational standards and curricula, support the improvement of  training facilities, and provide internships and attachments. 

In addition, KBEST will engage women’s organizations and other civil society organizations in outreach and advocacy and will work with Kenya-based Equity Group Foundation to provide scholarships and other student support for girls and women. In total, over 5,000 young Kenyans are expected to benefit directly from the program. 


“We are very excited to continue our longstanding partnerships in Kenya, this time in support of the blue economy. KBEST will not only help train the workforce needed in this emerging sector, it will also further strengthen Kenya’s TVET institutions and help them deliver strong programs that meet the needs of both learners and employers. All while encouraging the preservation of Kenya’s vital coastline and waterways for generations to come.” 

Denise Amyot, President and CEO, Colleges and Institutes Canada 

“Today, Canada is thrilled to launch the Kenya Blue Economy Skills Training Program (KBEST) with the Government of Kenya.  Working through Kenya’s Technical and Vocational Colleges, this program will train young women and men to work in expanding sectors of Kenya’s blue economy. It will lead to more jobs and improved livelihoods complementing Canada’s existing investments in Kenya’s blue economy sector. We are looking forward to working with key stakeholders, including national and county governments, the private sector, civil society, as well as domestic and international financial institutions to grow the blue economy in a sustainable manner.”   

Christopher Thornley, Canadian High Commissioner in Kenya 


About Colleges and Institutes Canada: 

CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. It advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. With more than 95% of Canadians living within 50 km of a member institution, and thanks to its extensive reach around the globe, CICan works to future-proof communities in Canada and abroad. 

We respectfully acknowledge that CICan’s offices in Ottawa are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation. 


For more information: 

Leah Jurkovic
Director, Communications
Colleges and Institutes Canada
Twitter: @CollegeCan