“Underwater archeology is a relatively new and expensive undertaking in Africa and Kenya’s partnership with China has placed it ahead of many regional African states in this area of specialization,” said Dr Wario.
Under the project, China has assisted Kenya train its first ever underwater archeologists Caesar Bita and Philip Wanyama and to procure underwater archeology equipment.
Mr Bita, the head of archaeology at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), said the museum is expected to be fully operational in 2014 – making Kenya the first African country to establish such a facility.
“Apart from studying shipwrecks, we will also be studying the marine life that exist in the Indian Ocean Coast,” Mr Bita said.
There are 32 known shipwrecks along the Kenyan coastline, eleven of which have lain in the deep waters for more than half a century including Highland Lassie that sank in 1879 and Hamad and Sussex which sank in 1909.
China, Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are some of the few countries to have underwater museums, with China’s museum being the largest in the world.
Meanwhile, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) is building a rotating museum and a hall of fame in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area to celebrate the achievements of Olympic champions.
Dubbed Olympic Plaza, the proposed facility will allow visitors a 360 degree view of Nairobi as the rotating portion of the top (16th) floor rotates.