President Uhuru Kenyatta made an extensive tour of several development projects in parts of Kwale County Saturday.
The President who was accompanied by Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Samson Mwathethe visited the Shimoni fish landing site which the government through the Kenya Ports Authority is in the process of upgrading into a modern fishing port.
The upgrading of the fish landing site into a fully operational port complete with cold storage facilities, new modern offices for the various state agencies and berths for light cargo vessels will be complete within eight months at a cost Shs 500 million.
Speaking to residents of the small fishing town, the President said the fishing port and supporting infrastructure will help spur economic activities in the area.
He said that as part of efforts to ensure that the local community benefits from the fishing port, the government will sponsor 150 youth from the area to attend coxswain training at the newly established Bandari Maritime Academy.
From Shimoni, the Head of State proceeded to Kibuyuni town where he inspected the ongoing construction of a 200 tonne per day fish processing factory by a Chinese investor.
Once complete, the factory will directly employ 500 Kenyans from the area and provide a ready market for hundreds of fishermen from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Somalia and Madagascar.
While in Kibuyuni, the President also visited the Kibuyuni Seaweed Farmers factory, a project by a local women group.
The government supported group is engaged in the commercial cultivation and export of seaweed as well as the processing of the crop to make soap.
The President assured area residents, who largely depend on sea fishing for their livelihood, that the government is working on resolving the challenge of illegal fishing so as to enable them earn more for their trade.
After Kibuyuni, the Head of State flew to Vigurungani in Kinango Constituency where he inspected the ongoing construction of the road from Samburu through Kinango to Kwale.
The Samburu to Kinango section of the road is now 78 percent complete with roadworks on the segment expected to be complete by December this year.
Once complete, the road will open up the southern region of the coastal belt to more trade investments.
The President asked the contractor to speed up the works while ensuring that the agreed timelines and quality standards are strictly adhered to.
After visiting the road project, the President made a surprise appearance at the homecoming ceremony of Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe at the nearby Mwangoni Primary School grounds.
While addressing thousands of enthusiastic residents of the area, the President said PS Kwekwe has distinguished herself as a diligent public servant.
The President, who promised an upgrade of the primary school at a cost of Shs 11 million, challenged young girls from the area to emulate PS Kwekwe and all other eminent Kenyan women leaders whom he termed as trailblazers.
“You young girls I see here, please put more effort in your education. Please see how you can go beyond being a Cabinet Secretary and become the first Woman President,” President Kenyatta said.