NAIROBI, KENYA, NOVEMBER 30 — Kenya’s Maritime and Shipping Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu has been named the 2018 African Union (AU) Woman of the Year and Pan-African Most Influential Woman in Business and Government.
PS Karigithu who has won the two titles has been recognized for her impactful work and leadership at the Association for Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA), and her general contribution in driving the global maritime agenda.
She is a founding member and the inaugural chairperson of WOMESA which she steered for two terms dating back to 2007.
She now seats on the Governing Council of WOMESA which is a partnership between the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and whose membership comprises of 24 countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, aimed at building the capacity of and encouraging the participation of more women at senior level in the maritime sector.
Through a mentorship programme and training sponsorships, she has been influential to young women, of high school age and college age, taking up careers in the shipping industry, including seafaring.
She is also recognised for being a champion in developing the blue economy agenda, not just in Kenya but also in Anglophone Africa where for ten years before joining the Kenya Maritime Authority as the founding CEO, she consulted widely for the IMO in establishing and strengthening maritime administration in the region.
In this regard she went on advisory missions to among other countries Tanzania, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Gambia, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda among others.
In 2004, she served as the Maritime Expert at the African Union where she undertook preparatory work for the extensive review of the African Maritime Transport Charter whose revised version was signed by the AU Heads of State in Entebe Uganda in July 2010.
Feted at an AU sideline event during the just concluded Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, PS Karigithu was also named the overall winner of CEO Global Africa Chapter-Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government, at an event held in South Africa.
This is due to her role in the just ended Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. She was unable to attend the Awards function that took place on November 26, 2018.
“I am pleased and humbled to be recognised but I also acknowledge that the awards are as a result of the hard work of so many other people who were not able to share the podium with me and I really appreciate them,” Karigithu said.
“The awards are really Kenyan and for my fellow industry players who have walked this journey with me. I thank them all. I pledge to continue working closely with all the industry players to drive the blue economy agenda to greater heights,” PS Karigithu added.
An alumni of the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), Karigithu is a maritime law expert with vast experience spanning 32 years, marked with exemplary leadership in the fields of maritime administration and commercial shipping in both government and the private sector.
The immediate former Director-General of Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has been instrumental in a number of maritime sector initiatives both at the international and local arenas, mainly advising and helping implement maritime policies in Kenya, Africa and globally.
She has served as the chairperson of IMO’s Technical Cooperation Committee, one of the five committees through which the Organization performs its functions.
She currently is a member of the Board of Governors of the World Maritime University based in Malmo, Sweden, a member of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute based in Malta and was recently elected Vice President (Africa) of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO).
IMSO is an inter-governmental organization whose primary purpose is the oversight of certain public satellite safety and security communication services provided by mobile satellite communication systems.
The first Maritime PS in the history of Kenya, she remains instrumental in the country’s ambitious journey of tapping into the blue economy, a sector His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged support for, as his administration remains keen on growing the country’s economy by double-digits.