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 was in 2017 re-appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife by H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya. Hon. Balala began his political career as the youngest Mayor of Mombasa, at only 30 years old, from 1998 to 1999 and soon after was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Mvita Parliamentary seat in the 2002 General Elections, where he served until 2012.
CS Balala is currently the longest-serving Minister in the Kenyan Cabinet, with thirteen (13) of experience as a Minister serving in different portfolios. He, first, served as Kenya’s Minister for Gender, Sports, Culture & Social Services from January 2003 to June 2004, where he spearheaded the Gender Commission Bill; and as Acting Minister of Labour from January to June 2003. Afterwards, CS Najib served as Minister for National Heritage from June to November 2005, where he fronted drafting of the Heritage Bill; Minister for Tourism from 2008 to 2012, where he was elected Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2011 and was voted Best Tourism Minister in Africa in 2009 by Africa Investor (AI). Then, he was appointed Kenya’s first Minister of Mining
in May 2013 and is credited with delivering the Draft Mining Bill in 2014 - the first policy and institutional framework review of Kenya’s mining sector since 1940. In addition, CS Balala was elected Chairman of the Mining Governing Council by his peers. Afterwards, he was appointed Minister for Tourism from 2015 to 2017, when he was appointed to his present position in charge of Tourism & Wildlife. Last year, CS Balala oversaw the drafting and launch of both the National Tourism Blueprint (NTB) 2030 and National Wildlife Strategy (NWS) 2030, respectively.
He is very keen to ensure the successful implementation of these two documents.
He is credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery since his re-appointment in 2015. He has played a significant role in boosting growth and stability in the Kenyan and regional 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 was both prudently and sustainably-managed.
He is focused on improving and modernizing Kenya’s wildlife conservation sector, under the banner KENYANS FOR WILDFLIFE & WILDLIFE FOR KENYANS, since it has a direct impact on the tourism sector –of which 70% is wildlife-based.