Nigeria to host conference on African ports and hinterland connectivity

Nigeria will be hosting the International Association of Ports and Harbours, (IAPH) Africa Regional Conference scheduled for September 17 in Abuja.

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, told newsmen on Friday in Lagos that the conference themed “African Ports and Hinterland Connectivity” would be declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ms Bala Usman who is vice president of the IAPH, said the conference would focus on reviewing the reality of Africa’s port sector and the challenges faced in the hinterland connectivity, with a view to providing possible solutions to drive growth of the sector.

She also said that the experiences of the other parts of the world would be reviewed compared to what obtains in Africa, considering the need to decipher the best models for the African situation.

Her words: “The IAPH Africa Conference will assemble key experts and stakeholders in the port logistics and transport industry to provide a deeper understanding of the concept of port hinterland connectivity.

“…discuss the experiences of port hinterland connectivity in other parts of the world compared to Africa, explore possible critical solutions, and recommend best home-grown models that would enable Africa to improve on its port hinterland connectivity and intra-regional trade.”

She added that one of the sessions at the conference would look “at options for sourcing funding and how governments can access affordable funding for port and hinterland corridor infrastructure development.”

The NPA MD noted that at the end of the conference, participants would want their respective governments to fully understand the importance and need to implement policies to prioritize port hinterland connectivity for efficient service delivery at the ports.

She said that the participating ports include: “Transnet National Port Authority (South Africa); Kenya Ports Authority; Douala Port Authority (Cameroon); Nigerian Ports Authority.

Others are “Cotonou Port Authority (Benin); Abidjan Port Authority (Cote d’Ivoire); Dakar Port Authority (Senegal); Tanger Med Port (Morocco); Port of Alexandria (Egypt), and Antwerp Port Authority (Belgium).