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Hon. Najib Balala

Cabinet Secretary for tourism and wildlife, Republic of Kenya

Honourable Najib Balala, EGH, was born in 1967 and is trained in International Urban Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. He underwent the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

CS Balala is the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife having been appointed by H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH, and President of the Republic of Kenya in 2018. He previously served as the Minister for Tourism from 2015 to 2018 and 2008 to 2012 and as the first Minister for Mining in Kenya form 2013 to 2015.

During his realm as the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, he is credited with development of the Wildlife policy 2020; the development, commissioning and implementation of the National Tourism Blueprint 2030 and the National Wildlife Strategy 2030 in 2018. He delivered the Tourism Bill in and gave the sector a policy and legal framework geared towards maintaining sustainability in 2011. In his realm as the Kenya’s first Minister in in Mining, he is credited with delivering the Draft Mining Bill in 2014, the first policy and institutional framework review of Kenya’s mining sector since 1940.

Hon. Balala served as Member of Parliament for 10 years for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa from 2002 to 2012 and as Kenya’s Minister for Tourism from April 2008 to March 2012, He was voted Best Tourism Minister in Africa in 2009 by Africa Investor (AI).

He is credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery following the post-election violence in 2008 and the terrorists attack in 2015. Hon Balala is the lead tourism and wildlife sector in the response and rebound of the Global Tourism against the impact of Covid-19 Coronavirus, having steered the development and implementation of Magical Kenya Health and Safety protocol, acquirement of the World Safe Travel Stamp and Safe Travel seal for Magical Kenya.

He has played a significant role in boosting growth and stability in the Kenyan and regional and global tourism sector, working closely with private and institutional investors, with conservation and regional development agencies to ensure that the economic potential of this vital sector is both prudently and sustainably managed.

Hon Balala is the immediate former chair of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) (2020). He served as the Chair of the World Tourism Organisation Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) 2017-2019.

He has won the world accolade, after been awarded the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Champion Award at the 2019 Global Summit in Seville, Spain, for his country's outstanding work on Social Impact for his unique contribution to public policies and initiatives that have increased competitiveness of the sector globally.