Transport and Logistics Minister, Frank Tayali, has called for enhanced regional collaboration and partnerships towards unlocking water way trade opportunities not only for the region and continent at large.
Mr Tayali said the maritime sector is an essential component of global trade, noting that Africa has vast natural resources that are in high demand all over the world.
He said the natural resources can support the maritime sector’s growth.
Mr Tayali pointed out the need for Africa to develop deliberate policies that capacitate its people with the required skills to manage and operate in the maritime sector.
The minister was speaking during the eighth Assembly of Ministers of the Inter-governmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS) in Livingstone yesterday.
And ISCOS Chairperson, Edward Walama, who is also Uganda Minister of Works and Transport, said shipping has become essential to humanity wellbeing due to its significance in international trade connectivity.
General Walama noted that in order to achieve the aspirations of the African continent under the initiatives such as the revised African Maritime Transport Charter 2010, African Continental Free trade agreement and Agenda 2063, shipping and trade facilitation must play a critical role.
He explained that building synergies for the transformation and growth of Africa’s shipping and the maritime sector needs to be embraced by member states so the cost of doing business can reduce in the region.
General Walama stated that the mandate of ISCOS has extended to cover the eastern, southern, northern and the Indian Ocean states of Africa.
He therefore proposed that ISCOS should change its name to reflect the geographical reach and mandate.
He revealed that ISCOS will be renamed as Maritime Organisation of Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa after all due processes have been put in place.
Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Mwakibete Atupele said the domestication of the marine cargo insurance in his country has helped to realise an increase in the retention of the money in excess of 21.4 billion Tanzanian shillings in 2021.
Mr Atupele revealed that his country has modernised the Dar es Salaam port by strengthening and deepening the berths and terminal, dredging of the entrance channel and harbour basin at Gerezani creek.
Meanwhile, Burundi Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Marie Nijimbere said the maritime industry faces common challenges of unskilled labour and lack of information on navigation among others.
And Egyptian Ambassador to Zambia, Moataz Anwar assured the meeting that his country is ready to provide technical support to the region to develop the water way transport.
Kenya’s Minister of Mining Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Salim Mvurya, said his country is ready to support the realisation of the ISCOS.
Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi have also made intentions of joining the regional maritime sector.
And Southern Province Minister, Cornelius Mweetwa, encouraged member states to experience the numerous historical, cultural and natural heritage sites that the tourist capital has to offer.