Togo, allies support promotion of inter-African trade
The Togolese Minister of Maritime Economy, Fisheries and Coastal Protection, Edem Kokou Tengue, has pledged the country’s support towards the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA’s) promotion of shipping as a core element for the success of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Minister urged the MOWCA scribe to include in his action plans, the promotion of African Shipping Lines to serve the interests of African shippers.
Tengue, who hosted the Secretary General of MOWCA, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, also called for the strengthening of the cabotage regime to boost intra-African trade and the use of fuel-compliant ships in line with international standards for vessels calling at African ports.
The Minister reassured the West African country’s commitment to the actualisation of the transformation of MOWCA to the African Maritime Organisation (AMO).
Tengue also expressed Togo’s readiness to contribute to the timely take-off of the Regional Maritime Development Bank, whose charter they had assented to, with a promise to diligently consider the appointment of the country’s representative to the bank’s Board of Directors and pay up his country’s arrears of contribution to MOWCA.
Responding, the MOWCA scribe, who described intra-African trade as the right step for continental economic growth, identified existing and emerging ports in African Union (AU) member countries as viable gateways for trade, investment, job creation and sustainable economic relationships.
According to him, the reality of African countries having finished products with traceable origin on the continent, while also exchanging agricultural products and services, places a need to maximise the continent’s maritime potential in actualisation of the AfCFTA objectives.
He commended the government of Togo for its interest and sustenance of a viable maritime sector that attracts investors with a deep seaport fitted with ship-to-shore (STS) cranes and additional capacity for improved maritime infrastructures.
Adalikwu intimated Tengue of MOWCA’s engagement with the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and steps being taken towards closer ties with the African Union, African Development Bank (AfDB), World Maritime University, Korea International Cooperation Agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency and AfCFTA.
He added that MOWCA has embarked on the need assessment at the Maritime Academies and other Specialised Organs under it, such as the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) and the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC).