President Bola Tinubu has called for the intervention of governments of African countries in the maritime sector by providing critical infrastructure and investing in the ports towards facilitating trade on the continent.
He said full automation and development of the ports would make African ports more relevant and competitive in the global maritime economy.
Tinubu spoke on Monday in Lagos while declaring open the 43rd Annual Council Meeting and 18th Roundtable of Managing Directors Exhibition of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA).
Persecondnews reports that the them of the conference being attended by about 300 delegates, is, “The role of ports in the African continental free trade area’’, hosted by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The president was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Maritime and Blue Economy, Mr Gboyega Oyetola.
The President said: “African countries must seek solutions to the challenges facing ports authorities. Ports operation needs a lot of intervention by the governments, there is need to invest in infrastructure to promote trade among member-states
“Full automation of the ports is the way to go to be relevant and competitive in the global maritime economy.
“Africans must work towards solving the socio-economic problems facing the continent; we must work together for the common good of the people.’’
Tinubu said therefore total integration of Africa was inevitable for the overall development of the continent.
He said his administration created the Ministry of Maritime and Blue Economy because of his interest in the maritime industry and commended the Ministry and the NPA for hosting the conference.
Speaking earlier, Oyetola said Nigeria is home to all Africans in terms of regional cooperation and collaboration particularly in the maritime sector.
He said no country is an island, stressing the need for continental integration towards exploiting the maritime economy.
In his speech, the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, said the growth and economic development of the countries in Africa depend on the sustainable growth and efficient ports operation.
He said marine competitive advantages are more pressing now than ever before and lauded President Tinubu for creating the Ministry of Maritime and Blue Economy which, according to him, will reposition the country’s economy and create wealth.
Bello-Koko also commended PMAWCA for sustaining the annual council meetings which have been veritable platforms for collaboration by chief executives of the various ports.
“Competition or competitiveness is good and healthy but cooperation among ports managers is better and will help to consolidate the gains in the maritime sector,’’ Persecondnews quotes him as saying.
Bello-Koko thanked the minister for his support and providing the necessary leadership in driving President Tinubu’s vision for the sector.