MOWCA, AfDB explore common interests in maritime infrastructure development
The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have jointly identified areas of collaboration for maritime infrastructural development and employment creation.
This was part of the resolutions of the meeting between the Secretary General of MOWCA, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, and officials of the AfDB in Abidjan.
Adalikwu explained MOWCA’s importance and strategic positioning in harnessing the benefits of maritime transport development and the blue economy concept.
He disclosed AfDB’s plan to establish Regional Maritime Development Bank (RMDB) with headquarters in Abuja to serve as an avenue to provide funding for the African shipping industry to enable indigenous investors to own ships and play an active role in the industry.
Adalikwu stated further that nine 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.
He encouraged AfDB to see this as an opportunity to invest in the RMDB.
The MOWCA scribe disclosed plans 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 the empowerment of women and youths through ocean resources, thereby, mitigating involvement in maritime crimes, institutional maritime capacity building and engagement of more women in the sector.
Adalikwu also talked about establishing an information network relying on high-technology equipment to increase situational awareness at sea to maximise the benefits of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) technical assistance programmes for member states.
The AfDB team led by the Acting Director of the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department, Mr. Mike 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 the improvement of connectivity with rail and road transport for facilitation of cargo transit to landlocked countries.
The bank also assured of assisting to overcome 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 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
AfDB, according to Salawou, is also considering the port infrastructure development and city urbanisation in Praia-Dakar link by sea.
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