32-member African maritime nations seek trade facilitation strategies

The 32-member nations of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) have agreed to facilitate strategies that would enhance trade facilitation across the continent.

The continental group, in a communiqué issued after the just concluded third AAMA conference in Abuja, said member-countries must have the political will to facilitate trade through: transparency; simplicity of trade documentation and procedures; elimination or reduction of red-tapes (bureaucracy); and adequacy of and implementation of applicable laws.
  
The communique made available to The Guardian yesterday urged maritime administrators to devote concerted effort and planning to pursue the enhancement of wealth creation, as well as regional and international trade performance through maritime-centric capacity and capability building.

  
Members are also enjoined to focus on minimizing environmental damage and expedited recovery from catastrophic events; prevention of hostile and criminal acts at sea, and coordination/harmonization of the prosecution of offenders; and population protection, including assets and critical infrastructure from maritime pollution and prevention of dumping of toxic and nuclear waste.

Their resolutions also include improvement of Integrated Coastal Zone/Area Management in Africa; and promotion of ratification, domestication and implementation of international instruments.
  
To address the enormous challenges of building human capacities in the maritime sector, especially regarding training and employment of cadets, maritime administrations are enjoined to develop an integrated human resources strategy for the maritime sector. This is to support the provision of skills taking into account gender balance in the entire maritime value chain which includes shipping and logistics, offshore activities, fishing, tourism and recreation, and safety and security (AIMS 2050).
   
Besides, government of member-nations are advised to provide fiscal incentives to attract vessels to their respective ship registry. The group also urged governments to adopt the Port State Measures Agreement and to consider taking immediate actions to implement and enforce the measures.

Other recommendations are: “Strengthen the legal and governance framework for monitoring and control of fishing activities on a national and regional basis; governments must develop measures in addition to FAO guidelines to protect our exclusive economic zone and territorial waters from illegal, unlawful unreported fishing by foreign fishing trawlers.
 
“Members are encouraged to re-enforce regional cooperation and coordination, enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members to combat the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.’’

“AAMA is urged to identify and carry out capacity building exercises for member nations according to their needs.“Maritime Administrations are encouraged to facilitate the ratification and adoption of the African Maritime Transport Charter and the 2017 Lome Charter,” it stated.
   
The IMO however affirmed its readiness to support maritime administrations in Africa in combating security challenges, and in building human capacity equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments. 

  
The African Union Commission has set aside July 25 of every year as Africa’s Day of the Seas and Oceans. Maritime Administrations are encouraged to institutionalize this day to raise awareness amongst stakeholders of the strategic importance of maritime governance for sustainable development; highlight the important role Africa needs to play at international maritime forum; raise awareness on Africa’s Blue Economy and enhance the focus on maritime safety, security, maritime environment protection and human element.
  
AAMA has resolved to take the lead in the collaboration of maritime agencies and the development of a well-defined national/continental strategy. All maritime administrations in Africa are encouraged to attend Africa Day of the Seas and Oceans on 25th July 2017 at Addis Ababa.

To foster economic co-operation between AAMA members, the group has agreed to develop and adopt Near-Coastal Trading, Certification and Competency Code for mutual recognition of certificates that will reduce/eliminate contentions by Port State Control Inspectors.



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