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Kenyan on the shortlist for IMO Secretary-General

Former Principal Secretary, Ms Nancy Karigithu. PHOTO/UGC


Former Principal Secretary, Ms Nancy Karigithu, is among seven candidates who have been shortlisted for the position of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Seven IMO Member States that includes Kenya, Bangladesh, Turkey, Panama, Dominica, Finland and China have each nominated a candidate for the post of IMO Secretary-General.

Kenya’s former Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, is among those shortlisted to replace the current IMO of Secretary-General Kitack Lim. The term of Mr Lim of the Republic of Korea, expires on 31 December 2023.  

The IMO, in a press release said the nominations for the new IMO Secretary-General were received by the deadline set for receipt of nominations of 31 March 2023 and in alphabetical order includes; Mr Moin Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh), Mr. Suat Hayri Aka (Türkiye), Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Panama), Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Dominica), Mrs. Nancy Karigithu (Kenya), Ms. Minna Kivimäki (Finland) and Mr. Zhang Xiaojie (China).

The IMO Council at its 128th session (December 2022) approved the procedures for holding the election of the Secretary-General at the July 2023 session of the Council (C 129).  The election will take place at IMO Headquarters on Tuesday 18 July.

Following the election in July 2023, the decision of the Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023. The Assembly will be invited to approve the appointment. The elected Secretary-General will take office on January 1st, 2024.

Ms Karigithu is a well-known maritime expert. Before her appointment to the position of Principal Secretary, she was working as a short term legal expert for the European Union (EU) project Critical Maritime Routes, aimed at enhancing Maritime situational awareness in the Indian Ocean.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Nairobi and a master’s degree in International Maritime law from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Malta. She was the Director General (DG) of Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) where she served for nine (9) years and currently sits on the Board of Governors of the World Maritime University (WMU), based in Malmo, Sweden.

She has a working experience of 30 years, 26 of them in the Maritime Industry.  Other previous work experience includes working as a Stint State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, Senior Legal Officer at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) where she rose to the post of an acting Assistant Corporation Secretary.

Ms Karigithu was also involved in the setting up and launch of the Association of Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern & Southern Africa (WOMESA) where she served for two terms as a Chairperson and now sits on the governing council. WOMESA is a first regional body which brings together women professionals in the maritime sector of 26 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

She was instrumental in organizing the first ever Heads of Maritime Administrations and Ship Registrars Conference held in Mombasa, Kenya in October 2013, and which has since formed into the Association of Maritime Administration in Africa.

Mrs. Karigithu also organized the first National Maritime Conference which took place in February, 2015 and brought together key stakeholders of the International Maritime Industry to Kenya.

Recently, Mrs. Karigithu was feted and honored for honorary fellowship by the World Maritime University during the Graduation Ceremony which was held in 3rd November, 2019 in Malmo, Sweden because of her distinguished service in the maritime sector.

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