On August 16, 2012 ? In Business

By Victoria Edema & Mohammed Maimuna

A CALL has been made for the establishment of a specialized pan African financial institution, dedicated to infrastructure and skills development in the continent?s maritime, as well as the oil and gas sectors.

Various speakers at the recently held 2nd Africa Shipping and Oil Roundtable in Ghana?s capital city of Accra, described as unacceptable the present state of maritime and energy infrastructure in the continent despite the huge revenue being generated each year from oil production and its support services including shipping.

The two day event with the theme ?Sustainable Local Content Development in Africa?s Shipping and Oil Industry? was attended by high level government functionaries and leading players involved in shipping, oil and gas, logistics, trade and banking across Africa.

Guest of Honour and Ghana?s Transport Minister, Alhaji Dauda Collins, commended the initiators of the roundtable and described it as a laudable platform for industry stakeholders to brain storm and put together ideas that would lay a strong foundation for local content development, enhance skills and build industrial capacity, which in turn will spur economic and better living standards.

The Minister in his keynote remarks spoke on the need for oil producing African countries to develop and push through local content policy, to maximize the benefits of a depleting resource like oil to the country, her people and future generations.

In his words, ?we are challenged now more than ever before to enforce the local content policy, come up with good legislations and robust guidelines, he concluded.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Representative for Anglophone West and Central Africa, Mr. Michael Luguje, observed that port authorities in Africa have responded rather slowly to the demands of the oil and gas industry. As more African countries join the league of oil and gas producers, our port authorities should come up with the right strategies to meet the requirements of the oil and gas industry, he said.

Luguje who was recently elected Secretary General of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), harped on increased co-operation and collaboration by the critical actors in the maritime, oil and gas industry, in addition to the adoption of common procedures and practices in line with internationally accepted standards.

Chief Executive Officer of the South Africa Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA),  Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, called for the development of  a focused and resourced regional strategic partnership for the oil and maritime sectors that addresses; business to business (B2B) ? to enhance African and regional business leadership and companies to create critical mass for industry development; Government to Government (G2G) ? to establish bilateral arrangements, to enhance country to country relationships; Institution to Institution (I2I) ? to accelerate capacity building, skills development and to create dynamic engagement platform;  and roadshows to mobilize capacity and interests in the oil and gas industry of African countries.

Earlier in her welcome address chairperson of the roundtable organising committee, Mrs Remilekun Rasaq, said the transport, oil and gas industry hold a lot of promise for the continent, ?thus addressing the deficiencies in these critical sectors would reverse the fragile health of most African countries and position them to compete effectively in an increasingly globalized world?, she said.  She charged participants to come up with cost effective solutions which could be easily implemented across the continent.

Other speakers at the roundtable?s opening ceremony include the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Council, Dr. Kofi Mbiah; Rector of the Regional Maritime University, Mr Alock Asamoah; Capt Adamu Biu, Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers Council; Ghana?s Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Matthew Quarshie, represented by Commodore B.F. Ashante and Hon. Ernest Kofi Yakah, Chairman Mines and Energy Committee, Ghana Parliament.

The Africa Shipping and Oil Roundtable is an annual platform for decision makers and government functionaries in the maritime, oil and gas industry, to discuss, review and proffer solutions that would guarantee sustainable growth of the African economy as well as enhance trade connectivity between African countries and to international markets.

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