Africa: Italian Billionaire Family, Aponte Hiring 2,000 Kenyans on Italian Cruise Ships, plans for 200,000 Kenyans in future


Italian-based company owned by the Aponte family, is set to hire 2,000 Kenyans on Italian cruise ships in partnership with the government of Kenya.

According to, in October 2021, the government announced a programme that seeks to help Kenyans secure jobs onboard European cruise ships.

The State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs sealed a deal with an Italian-owned Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in order to employ over 1,000 Kenyans in the cruise ship business.

During the second recruitment phase in July 2022, the company announced that 2,000 Kenyans to be employed in the maritime job market.

These employment opportunities include cooks, kitchen utility staff, baristas, waiters, pastry chefs, lifeguards, guest relations agents, animators and marine staff.

READ: Africa: Kenya’s $11 Million New Cruise Terminal Built To Drive Tourism Sits In Limbo Due To Omicron Disruption

The programme, according to Shipping and Maritime Principal secretary Nancy Karigithu, seeks to employ close to 200,000 Kenyans in the future in order to bridge the unemployment gap.
The Italian-based company is owned by the Aponte family – an iconic figure in the shipping industry.

Dating back to the 1970s, the company was founded by Gianluigi Aponte, who was a former banker who sought to purchase his first ship.

According to his profile on the company’s official website, Gianluigi bought subsequent vessels in 1972 and 1973.

The three cargo ships birthed MSC, which became one of the leading global container shipping companies, operating over 560 vessels.

In 1980, MSC announced its entry into the cruise business by purchasing the iconic liner Monterey. The move placed the company on the map and essentially grew to a global icon.

Gianluigi sat at the helm of the company for over four decades before passing the baton to his son, Diego Aponte, who took up the role of executive chair in 2014.

According to Forbes, Gianluigi’s net worth stands at Ksh1.7 trillion and is ranked position 102 in the latest global ranking for the richest billionaires.


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