.. .To explore areas of shared vision
The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) and African Development Bank (AfDB) have jointly identified areas of collaboration for maritime infrastructural development and employment creation.
This is a fallout of a meeting at the instance of Dr Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General of MOWCA with officials of the AfDB in Abidjan on Wednesday December 14, 2022 where both bodies identified the need for collaboration.
Adalikwu who was received by the AfDB team led by the bank’s Acting Director, Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, Mr. Mike Salawou explained MOWCA’s importance and strategic positioning in harnessing the benefits of maritime transport development and the blue economy concept.
The SG invited AfDB to look at his action plan on repositioning MOWCA and provide assistance to implement the programmes of work.
He informed the bank of the planned establishment of a Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB) with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria as an avenue to provide funding for African shipping industry to enable indigenous investors own ships and play active role in the maritime industry.
He stated further that 9 member States have signed the bank’s Charter document with 51 per cent equity share allotment to member States and 49 per cent equity set aside for private sector investors and encouraged the Bank to see this as an opportunity to invest in the RMDB.
The MOWCA SG disclosed plans to recruit officers to fill key positions at the Secretariat General, to encourage member states to replicate the existing anti-piracy laws of Nigeria and Togo for harmonisation of procedures and practices to prosecute criminals caught in the Gulf of Guinea.
He described the blue economy as an avenue for empowerment of women and youths through the ocean resources, thereby mitigating involvement in maritime crimes, Institutional maritime capacity building and engagement of more women in the sector.
He also talked about establishing an information network relying on high technology equipment to increase situational awareness at sea inorder to maximize the benefits from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) technical assistance programmes for member States.
The AfDB, through Salawou promised to engage with MOWCA on the review of the study on the development of the maritime sector that aims at promoting intra-African cabotage transport to reduce identified gaps.
The bank assured of partnership on promoting port efficiency through improvement of connectivity with rail and road transport for facilitation of cargo transit to landlocked countries and assisting in overcoming the challenges in the sector through job openings for African maritime practitioners currently dominated by Asian seafarers.
The AfDB representative expressed that the Bank was developing its strategies to fully address maritime issues with the African Union Commission and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), based on their involvement in the regional coastal shipping line project, SEALINK, initiated by the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and ECOWAS,.
AfDB according to Salawou, is also considering the Port infrastructure development and city urbanisation in the Praia-Dakar link by sea.
The bank rep agreed with MOWCA on the need for job opportunities creation with the promotion of maritime related entrepreneurship and training for women and youths.
The AfDB team was delighted to learn that PMAWCA, RMU and ARSTM were Specialised Organs of MOWCA, and planned to consider inviting MOWCA in 2024 to the review process of the published procurement relating to these maritime issues.