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MOWCA engages IMO in strategic alliance to reposition the regional body

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Segun Oladipupo
Dr Paul Adalikwu, the Secretary General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) has commenced strategic alliance talks with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London.This is contained in a press statement by the organisation on Friday.This was a major fallout of his first formal visit to Kitack Lim, Secretary General of IMO in London after about a decade of MOWCA’s absence from the global maritime body’s activities.The leadership of two key maritime organizations in the international and regional arenas met to chart a new partnership for their mutual benefits. The meeting, which was at the instance of MOWCA’s new Secretary General, discussed ongoing plan for the Regional Maritime Development Bank and created an avenue to update the global maritime body about recent happenings in MOWCA since a new SG assumed officeAt Adalikwu’s request,the IMO scribe approved a meeting with all MOWCA Ministers of Transport and Maritime Affairs in September to formalize the new relationship and engagements.While appreciating the repositioning of MOWCA under Dr. Adalikwu , Kitack Lim assured of IMO’s maximum cooperation and support.

He directed his team to engage further with MOWCA and work out details of the new engagement.He commended the initiative to have a maritime bank which he views as critical in supporting shipping business concerns in the region.The MOWCA SG proposed a revamping of an extant IMO/MOWCA Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a sub regional coast guard in West and Central Africa which dates back to July 2008 at the 13th session of MOWCA General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal.He said the goal of the MoU was to initiate joint efforts to implement coast guard functions aimed at safeguarding human life, enforcing laws, improving safety and protection of the environment.He reminded the IMO scribe that as part of moves to advance the implementation of the MoU in 2010, IMO and MOWCA had agreed to pursue adoption and implementation by member states; joint maritime security law enforcement; robust legal framework; sustainable development of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and technical assistance including funding.He also hinted that MOWCA aims at transforming into an African Maritime Organisation for continent wide impact that will be similar to the European Maritime Security Agency (EMSA)Adalikwu explained to Lim that amongst other things, MOWCA aims at ensuring maritime safety and security with a reduction of marine pollution from ships while also contributing to efficiency and effectiveness of maritime transport.He added that MOWCA is committed to achieving  capacity building through training and development of personnel and provision of resources to improve member countries national and regional capacity. IMO Secretary assured of maximum assistance.According to him, MOWCA under his leadership is fostering multilateral partnerships with other regional and international organisaions including the shipping industry.Also present at the discussion was the immediate past Chairman of MOWCA’s Council of Ministers, the Minister of Transport of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hon Cherubin Okende Senga. Okende-Senga lent his voice to MOWCA’s aspiration to transform into the African Maritime Organization (AMO) and thanked the IMO leadership for the audience. Alongside the IMO SG were his Special Advisor on Maritime Security Mr. Peter Adams, Director, Technical Cooperation Mr. Xiaojie Zhang and Head of External Relations Office, Mr. Michael Guy and Head of Technical Unit for Africa Mr. Emmanuel Azuh.

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