The Kenyan government has unveiled an ambitious plan to plant 18 million trees in the next three years at different Safari Rally routes in Kenya.
World Rally Championship Safari Rally organising committee yesterday launched the three-year plan dubbed ‘Safari Legacy’ anchored on environmental conservation.
Sports CS Amina Mohamed said the tree planting exercise will commemorate Kenya’s 18-year absence from the World Rally Championship calendar.
“This project will target parts of our wetlands affected by deforestation, traditional Safari Rally and Kenya Motor Sports Federation routes, the service park and the spectator stage at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani,” Amina said.
The WRC Safari Rally is to be held next year on June 24-27 after it was postponed in 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will be making a return to Kenya after it was struck off the WRC calendar in 2002 due to financial problems and the inability to meet stringent demands set by the tournament organisers.
” It will converge in excess of 825 million visitors in the form of spectators, online games participants on Safari play station and global television viewership.
It is estimated that this event will have a direct injection of approximately 6B Kenya Shillings in the form of foreign currency into the country,” she said.
Amina was recently elected to World Motor Sport Council of the International Automobile Federation and is optimistic that this signals brighter times ahead for Kenyan motorsport.
“This election is a great honour for the motorsport fraternity and indeed for Kenya. It signifies our intention to feature on the global motoring world more boldly and with firmer presence,” Amina said.
She was speaking on Saturday at Pride Inn Hotel,Mombasa, at the end of a 3-day WRC Safari Rally team building session.
She thanked the Phineas Kimathi-led committee for exceptional and diligent work in preparation for the showpiece.
“I am informed that the past three days have been incredibly enriching with critical presentations covering safety, security, medical, media, life skills, administrative processes and team-building physical activities,” Amina said.
She added: “This project is being driven by a multi-agency operation team in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Save Our Rivers Initiative.
”The Greening Legacy project joins the FIA/WRC family’s model of giving back to nature.The target is to create a Safari Forest at Kasarani and plant trees along the traditional safari routes in Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Machakos, Makueni, Murang’a, Meru, Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga, Kiambu, Kajiado, Laikipia, Isiolo, Narok, Nakuru and Nairobi Counties.
One million trees will be planted this year, with 100,000 already planted in partnership with the Save Our Rivers Initiative.
In addition to the tree planting exercise that was officially launched yesterday at the WRC Safari Rally offices at Kasarani with a ceremonial tree planting exercise led by the FIA president Jean Todt accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohamed of Sports and James Macharia of Transport, the project will also involve sensitization programs on road safety.
“Planting 18 million trees is a commemoration of the18-year hiatus from the global event.
The trees will be planted in Nairobi, Machakos, Makueni, Narok, Kajiado among other counties.
The project will also will join the Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s tree planting Initiative to support the massive re-greening efforts.Meanwhile, FIA president Todt who is also the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety underscored the need to prioritise action for road safety.