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Maritime journalists urged to support efforts to lower shipping costs in Africa

(L-R)  : Mr Micheal Luguje – Secretary
General, PMAWCA; Mr Hassan Bello – Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian
Shippers Council; Dr.Affail Monney – President Ghana Journalists Association; Mr
Magnus Addico – former Secretary General of MOWCA; Dr.Moane Baomah – Honourable
Minister of Communications; Mr Selby Twumasi-Ankra – Chief Director, Ministry
of Transport; Mr Wale Adeniyi, National Public Relations Office of the Nigeria
Customs Service; Mr. NiiNikoi Amasa of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority; and
Mr Ignatius Nweke of Nigerian Shippers Council.
African maritime journalists have been enjoined to embrace activism and
support efforts to bring down high shipping cost, clearance time, corruption
and other challenges plaguing the maritime industry in Africa.

 Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari, gave the
charge in her keynote address titled “Maritime Media As Vessel For
Africa’s Economic Transformation”, at the inaugural Africa Maritime Journalists
Conference (AMJOC), held 29 and 30 January 2016, in Accra.

The Deputy Minister speaking as the Special Guest of Honour, described the
maritime subsector “as the best path to the connectivity of Africa’s economies.
The benefits therefrom have to be effectively communicated. Good communications
is therefore essential, but unlike the developed economies, the maritime
sub-sector in Africa has been grossly under-reported. Yet, when measures or
goals are not properly communicated, or the right information not available,
the outcome is poor”, she said.

Mrs Mogtari, represented by Mr Selby Twumasi-Ankra, the Chief Director of
her Ministry, called on Africa countries to connect their economies in order to
bring development faster to the continent.

“We must connect our economies, our port systems and customs
administrations in order to bring down transportation cost, enhance
standardized procedures and make our economies very competitive. The attainment
of this goal demands effective coordination and communication. This is why the
buy-in of the media is critical’, she explained.

The conference with the theme “Building Effective Communication
Infrastructure for Africa’s Blue Economy” attracted very senior as well as
young maritime journalists, aside a rich array of industry operators and
professionals, academicians, non-governmental and civil society groups.

Goodwill messages were delivered by the Honourable Minister of
Communications, Dr.Moane Boamah and President of Ghana Journalists Association,
Dr. Affail Monney.

Speakers include Mr. Magnus Teye Addico, former Secretary General of the
Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA); Mr. Hassan Bello –
Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council; and Mr. Micheal Luguje
– Secretary General of the Ports Management Association of West and Central
Africa (PMAWCA).

Others are Mr Richard Anamoo – Director General of Ghana Ports and Habours
Authority (GPHA) represented by Mr NiiNikoi Amasa; Mr Wale Adeniyi –
Deputy Comptroller of Customs and National Public Relations Officer of the
Nigeria Customs Service; Capt William Amanhyia – Executive Secretary of Ghana
Institute of Freight Forwarders; Mr Abraham Mensah – General Manager,
Operations at GPHA; Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University,
represented by Capt William Wricketts – Head, Maritime Safety Department; and
Mr Ignatius Nweke – Deputy Director, Public Affairs at the Nigerian Shippers

Delegates at the conference adopted the following resolutions:
§  African
countries should embrace well thought-out policies and provide the enabling
environment through effective and growth oriented legislations and incentives
that will lead to a win-win outcome for the country and investors.

§  African
countries are enjoined to take steps to delimit their maritime boundaries, to
avoid unnecessary territorial disputes in the future.

§  State
and non-state agencies in the maritime industry should embrace a collaborative
approach to resolving common challenges in the sector. A co-coordinating
structure or platform that promotes synergy for improved productivity and
efficiency should be put in place.

§  The
media should appreciate the socio-cultural issues arising from the activities
related to the marine environment and not just the economic benefits.

§  Maritime
journalists and content owners should exhibit high ethical standard and
professionalism in the conduct of their affairs, to endear them to other
stakeholders and the society at large.

§  Maritime
media practitioners should raise awareness and get those in authority to
appreciate and give quality attention to the maritime industry.

§  African
maritime journalists should come together and leverage on their collective
strength, so as to influence developments and policies in the sector.

§  The
maritime media should support efforts to bring down high transit cost,
clearance time, corruption and other challenges plaguing the maritime industry
in Africa.

§  Recent
advances in the digital media should be embraced by maritime journalists to
improve the quality and content of their reportage.

§  Maritime
agencies and corporate entities should invest in the training and retraining of
maritime media practitioners, to build their capacity and enhance their ability
to report the industry better.

§  The
Africa Maritime Journalists Conference (AMJOC) should facilitate the
establishment of a continent-wide association, as a mother body for maritime
media practitioners in Africa, which would promote professionalism and members’
welfare among other responsibilities.

§  Maritime
media in Africa should promote gender based issues and support the female
gender in a male dominated industry.

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Westblue Consulting Limited, Ghana
Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), Global Cargo and Commodities (Ghana)
Limited and West Coast Business Support Services were honoured for their
contribution to the successful hosting of the conference.

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