The Minister of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah has said out of the fifty-four (54) countries in Africa, thirty-eight (38) are coastal countries.
He said it is therefore imperative that we leverage on this attribute for our collective development of the Continent.
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At the moment, he stated, over 90% of imports and exports are by maritime transport.
“The 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy adopted in 2014 describes the maritime industry as the new frontier of the African Renaissance. The opportunities in the maritime industry abound, representing trillions of United States Dollars’ worth of goods and services and millions of jobs. This ranges from sectors such as shipping, logistics, insurance, port management, tourism, fishing and aquaculture just to mention a few.”
“The sub-region can tap into the opportunities offered by this new frontier to propel its developments. However, we can only do so if we build capacity to enable the participation of our citizens,” he said in a statement read on his behalf by Hassan Tampuli, Deputy Minister of at the 15th Congregation of the Regional Maritime University on Tuesday, August 3 at Nungua.”
He further stated that since the inception of the University in the 1980s, thousands of students from the sub-region have been equipped and prepared for the maritime industry’s job market.
The University, he said epitomizes the kind of regional integration yearned for under the African Union Agenda to tackle the challenges of development of the 21st century.
“It is therefore refreshing to note that the founding member countries of the RMU (then the Regional Maritime Academy) have remained steadfast and very supportive of this institution. As the host country of this institution, I extend our profound gratitude and appreciation to the Member States for this great show of togetherness in pursuit of our collective desire to develop the maritime industry in our respective countries,” he said.
“The Government of Ghana has not relinquished its responsibility as the host country of the University but is committed to providing the necessary infrastructure as assented to at the time of regionalization. I am pleased to inform you that under the Economic Development Cooperation Framework between the Government of Ghana and Korea, the Regional Maritime University would undergo massive infrastructure facelift and retooling,” he added.
As I speak to you, the Feasibility study for the Project is being finalized for the commencement of the Project. The scope of works to be covered under the project include the following: A training ship to provide onboard practical training for cadets; Training Simulators including a Full Mission Bridge, Coxswain, Full Mission Dynamic positioning, engine room and cargo handling among others; Educational equipment (Seafront Marine Research Lab, Transport Development Service Centre, Remote Education System and Fishing Gear Workshop Equipment among others); Educational facilities (Lecture theatres, student hotel, Graduate Business School, Sick Bay, student Cafeteria and Simulation Centre Building among others).”
“The Government of Ghana believes in the right to education as a fundamental principle to socioeconomic development. Government will there”ore continue to commit the necessary resources to ensure that this project takes-off as it will positively impact on job creation for the teeming youth who would acquire relevant skills to work in the maritime and allied industries.
“The Government of Ghana also believes that the country’s inland water bodies can be leveraged upon to provide sustainable means of transport. As I speak, a railway line is under construction to link the main sea port of Tema to the Volta Lake at Mpakadan. As part of the development of the water transport system, a Feasibility Study has been completed with also funding from the Korean Exim Bank under the Economic Development Cooperation Framework. The project would see to the upgrade of existing infrastructure, construction of new ones and provision of modern ferries and equipment. It is worthy to note that apart from the numerous jobs that would be created in the maritime industry, it will also help improve connectivity to communities that were displaced as a result of the creation of the Akosombo Dam.”
“Government is also rigorously reforming ports operations to bring about efficiency and ease of doing business. A number of major infrastructure facelift are currently ongoing at our two (2) major sea ports to respond to the increasing trade volumes,” he said.
“The RMU in these instances is an important player through the provision of the needed manpower especially in the training of seafarers and ship manning agents. A couple of years ago, the University collaborated with Bernhard Schulte’s Shipping Management Worldwide that afforded cadets of RMU to gain onboard practical experience on their vessels. I am informed that this collaboration has so far led to the recruitment and training of over 700 RMU students.”
“This is in consonance with the Government of Ghana’s vision to train more youth for sea service for export. I therefore want to use this opportunity to commend the Schulte Group and the Management of RMU for the continuous collaboration. Government on its part will continue to provide the needed support and necessary frameworks to scale –up the training of cadets and other skills required for the maritime industry,” he added.