MINISTER FOR Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has called for a shift towards the use of alternative fuels with low or zero carbon, in place of fossil fuels in Africa’s maritime industry.
According to her, this would help Africa’s maritime sector advance in their activities as greener habits, which are now becoming the new way of shipping, and Africa could not be left behind.
“We must begin frank discussions on current development in Green Shipping initiative,” she said.
She was speaking at the 17th Extraordinary General Assembly of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) in Accra.
The meeting is the second in 13 months and was observed to ensure that MOWCA was steered towards its objectives in accordance with best management practices and principles.
It brought together 20 countries with over sixty delegates to deliberate on matters of importance to the maritime industry in Africa.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey urged the gathering to prepare for the cost ramifications of the transition to cleaner fuels to ship owners, translating to increase freight rates.
She said, “Thus, I will urge MOWCA to consider the effects of the market-based measures under discussion within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on our economies. It would also be pertinent to identify possible ways to benefit from any fund raising thereof, in order to minimise the effects of the transition on all players, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”
Minister for Transport and Chairman of MOWCA, Kwaku Ofori-Asiamah, highlighted the need for member states to collaborate effectively in the development of relevant strategies for the operations and utilisation of the region’s maritime resources.
“I must reiterate that no single member state can make significant strides on their own. Areas such as maritime security, maritime safety and navigation, port and infrastructure development, environmental protection, fisheries amongst others can only become effective with a coordinated and integrated effort,” he shared.
Secretary-General MOWCA, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, said having a robust Maritime Development Bank to be located in Nigeria, being ramped up through firm and active mutually rewarding links to the global International Maritime Organisation (IMO), forms part of his vision and mission for the organisation.
“My expectations are to use the platform of MOWAC to plant a lush and luxuriant economic tree for the entire African continent,” he added.
BY Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Abigail Atinuke Seyram Adeyemi