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 Council.

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.