Maritime, critical to trade integration among African countries ― Amaechi

THE Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday, stated that the maritime sector is critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration between African countries.

The Minister, therefore, lauded the cooperative framework in collaboration with critical stakeholders using the maritime sector as a veritable tool to promote other sectors on the continent.

Rotimi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, made this disclosure at the Regional Workshop on United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Network, held in Lagos on Monday.

“As the African Continent forges ahead with phase 2 negotiations for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade (AFCTA), the maritime sector remains critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration between African countries.

“Our approach, therefore, towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals is contingent to our joint effort and ability to put in place the much needed cooperation framework in collaboration with critical stakeholders using the maritime sector as a veritable tool to promote agricultural development, food security, industrialisation, and economic transformation of our nations, the regions and the entire continent.

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“Many maritime states in the region have dedicated considerable attention in recent years to the development, drafting, and implementation of national and regional strategies, Nigeria inclusive, to give expression to the sustainable development goals,” Rotimi said.

Amaechi revealed that the country’s Maritime Transport Plan and Strategy to provide enabling framework towards achieving maritime objectives.

He noted that the discussion would birth innovative solutions and mechanisms towards the implementation of the 2030 agenda.

“Nigeria is working on Maritime Transport Plan and Strategy, which, when completed, will provide a robust enabling framework for achieving Nigerian maritime objectives.

“Stakeholders from the regions are gathered here today to discuss at a critical time on the issue of mainstreaming the maritime sector into the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and indeed the National Plan Of Member states through a corporation framework

“The discussions would indeed birth innovative solutions and mechanisms towards the implementation of the 2030 agenda in order to foster inclusive and sustained economic prosperity and development for our respective nations.

“The discussions on the theme ‘Cooperation Framework’, a process to mainstream the maritime sector is not new, however, the need to find a common approach in ending poverty and hunger have heightened the focus on it today.

“The importance of the maritime sector to international trade and our economies cannot be overemphasised given that 90 per cent of world trade is conducted by sea,” Amaechi said.

He added that the plan will foster public-private sector collaboration and inter-regional cooperation on sustainable development across the continent.

The Minister said that the discussion would provide an opportunity for stakeholders to develop the much-needed cooperation framework in addressing sustainable development goals.

“More importantly, The Maritime Transport Plan and Strategy will foster public-Private sector collaboration and inter-regional cooperation on sustainable development across the continent.

“This workshop is an essential step in a continuing shift in strategic thinking about the sustainable development of our nation.

“It will no doubt provide an opportunity for stakeholders to develop the much-needed cooperation framework in addressing the sustainable development goals,” the Minister said.

He commended the International Maritime Organisation, the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (UNECA), and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency for a well thought out plan to host this gathering.

Amaechi expressed optimism that the objective of developing a blueprint and agreeing on a common approach in mainstreaming the maritime sector into sustainable development goals and the National Plan of states would have been achieved as a result of the workshop.

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