The African Shipowners Association (ASA) organised the First African Maritime Conference in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria from 28th to 30th September 2015, under the theme: “African Cargo for African Shipowners”.
The main objectives were discussion about the opportunities and challenges of the sector, reflection on setting up a Pan African Fleet and consideration of a legal framework to regulate the sector.
The Conference gathered over 100 participants coming from various African countries that included Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania. They were in addition to key partners such as the African Union that sent a powerful delegation of experts headed by Mr Samuel Kamé-Domguia, Coordinator of 2050 AIM Strategy Taskforce, and Mr Retsole Mabote (Coordinator of Agenda 2063 Technical Team); as well as the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) among others.
In her goodwill message to the Conference, which was read on her behalf by Mr. Samuel Kamé-Domguia, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission who was attending the UN General Assembly in New York at the time, expressed her gratitude for the invitation extended to her and the AU in general. She commended ASA for organizing the meeting and appreciated the potential of the Africa Maritime Domain (AMD) and its eagerness to make it a reality in the near future. “It is indeed befitting that this conference is convened under the theme: African Cargo for African Shipowners. Agenda 2063 states that Africa’s Blue/ocean economy, which is three times the size of its landmass, shall be a major contributor to continental transformation and growth, through knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology, the growth of an Africa-wide shipping industry, the development of sea, river and lake transport and fishing, and exploitation and beneficiation of deep sea mineral and other resources. It also commits us all to use and conserve this natural resource in a sustainable manner, as the heritage of current and future generations” Dr Dlamini-Zuma added.
Indeed Africa is rich! Rich not only in its potential, but also its citizens and therefore the ADM deserves a closer management to get the best of it.
It is in this regard that during their 22nd Summit held from 30th to 31st January 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Heads of State and of Government of African Union adopted the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM Strategy); and subsequently in January 2015 the Agenda 2063 Framework Document which provide a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the AMD for wealth creation.
In that connection, and after participating in the launch of the Decade of African Seas and Oceans (2015-2025) and celebrations of the African Day of Seas and Oceans on 25 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, the African Shipowners Association organized this Conference in Lagos for a deeper discussion on how best to advance the AU strategies.
Appreciating the fact that Agenda 2063 allots a special place to the maritime domain and also to the private sector, the participants talked about the critical role they play in the AMD, their opportunities as well as their challenges and how they can contribute in reaching the goals of 2050 AIM Strategy and Agenda 2063.
During the opening ceremony, the background, opportunities and challenges facing the African maritime were presented by Mr Temisan Omatseye, President of the Shipowners Association.
Mrs Funmi Folorunso, Secretary General of the Association and the main coordinator of the event, introduced the theme of the Conference emphasizing why African cargo within African waters must be reserved for African Shipowners.
Following presentations, open discussions took place around African cargo for African shipowners, the legal framework for an African maritime cabotage, The African Maritime Transport Charter, the 2050 AIM Strategy as well as Agenda 2063 and their implementation; and finally the Cape Town Convention and the possible protocol on ships and maritime transport equipments.
The outcomes of the meeting spotlight the necessity for having: A Single African Maritime Transport Market to be adopted among the first-track projects under the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063 along the lines of the “Single African Air Transport Market”; an African fleet; an African Cabotage; a Legal framework for African Fleet; facilitating the financing of ships; building ships in Africa; job creation as well as education.
Closing the meeting, Mrs Caroline Masala, Vice President of the African Shipowners Association reiterated the need for Africa to share a part of the 2.5 Trillion USD of revenue being made in the shipping business every year.
The Conference came out with a Resolution intended to be sent to the AUC Leadership as contribution to the upcoming Summit on Africa Maritime.
Source: African Union Commission (AUC)