The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is hosting the 43rd Council and 18th Managing Director’s Roundtable event for the Port Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) from Monday of this week (6th November). The gathering of 24 littoral African countries is being held in Lagos until November 9th with the theme “The Role of Ports in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”.
Adegboyega Oyetola, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, expressed happiness that the meeting is being held at a time the most populous black nation was eager to provide the leadership necessary to maximise its marine and blue economy potential for prosperity of the growing youth population.
“To demonstrate the premium we place on maximising the emerging opportunities of AfCFTA, which is the focal point of the conference, we have given the Nigerian Ports Authority all the support necessary for a flawless hosting,” he said.
Also speaking in Lagos, NPA Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, promised a successful outing. He restated his organisation’s readiness to provide regional leadership in port competitiveness.
At the opening of the event, President Bola Tinubu, tasked African leaders with full automation in order to remain competitive in the global maritime sector. The President said the countries were duty-bound by posterity to unite and deploy their resources to solve issues affecting socio-economic progress and development; “Even though we have physical national boundaries that separate us, the waters are a natural source of connectivity, and they seem like a subtle providential message that we must work together for the good of all our countries”.
He pointed out that the ongoing discussions in Nigeria and other African countries on the importance of investing in infrastructure and equipment would support trade facilitation.
“My administration is especially interested in the maritime industry; this is why we created the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy in the first instance”. He noted that the theme of the conference was a testament to the determination of the organisers to collectively seek sustainable solutions to the challenges affecting port operations on the continent.
“After the issues of adequate security and transparency, the one other important factor deciding the competitiveness of ports is the seamlessness and efficiency with which cargoes are evacuated from the ports.
“This without doubt is an area in which port operations in Africa need a lot of intervention” he said.
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