MOWCA Holds 16th Extraordinary Session Of The General Assembly

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The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) has held its 16th Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly in Accra, Ghana to elect its Secretary General alongside other important decisions.

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In a welcome address, Ghana’s Minister responsible for Transport who doubles as the Chairman of MOWCA, Mr. Kweku Ofori Asiamah, disclosed that In this extraordinary session of the Assembly, Member States would be required to make important decisions that will determine how the
Organisation operates including the election of a new Secretary General.

“I am informed that upon deliberations at the Experts Committee Meeting, there was a general consensus to have a new Secretary General at the MOWCA Secretariat”, he added.

“In this regard, I will plead with all member states to facilitate consensus building in this matter”, Mr. Asiamah added.

He further stated that, its expected that this decision would set the Organisation into motion once again and also spur the much needed reforms with emphasis on the peculiarities of the maritime domain and the era in which we operate.

According to Mr. Asiamah, to rejuvenate the organisation’s common endeavour is to renew its confidence not only in MOWCA’s objectives but also in each other.
“We should demand more of ourselves as well as of our Organisation”, he emphasised.

The Minister stated that, there is therefore the urgent resolve of member states to honour their MOWCA as an Organisation exist to ensure that the Sub-region benefits from cost effective maritime services, guaranteed safety and security shipping and as well as ensuring the barest minimum pollution within our Maritime Sector.

The Honourable Minister charged his colleague Ministers to rally member states to collaborate more in the development of strategies for the sustainable utilisation of our maritime resources in order to reap the full benefits of our proximity to the maritime space.

This according to Mr. Asiamah, calls for the urgent revitalisation of Regional bodies particularly MOWCA.
” We must committed to the objectives that brought us together and adhere strictly to our rules and procedure”, he stressed.

“On my part as the new Chairman of MOWCA, I shall do my utmost best to fulfil the duties of the office to contribute to the success of this Organisation. I would rely on your support and cooperation to make this happen”, he assured.

In conclusion, the MOWCA Chairman urged all member states to be revived to achieve the aims and objectives that brought them together.

In attendance were Ministers of Transport and Maritime from West and Central Africa, Experts as well as Diplomatic Corps amongst other Dignitaries from the sub-Region.

Delivering a keynote address at the opening ceremony in Accra today, the Chief of Staff at the Office of the president, Mrs. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, reiterated the fact that, MOWCA as an Organisation exist to ensure that the Sub-Region benefits from cost-effective maritime services, guaranteed safety and security shipping as well as ensuring the barest minimum pollution within our Maritime Sector.

“I am therefore elated to see the rebirth of MOWCA and to be a part of the beginning of a new age of Maritime Administration in our Sub-region”, she added.

Mrs. Osei-Opare disclosed that, the African Continent faces many Maritime related challenges with the biggest of them being Maritime Insecurity. This she said is a major concern for most coastal nations within our Region.

Explaining further on the issue regarding security, the Chief of Staff mentioned that, the Gulf of Guinea has become a dangerous area for both merchant and fishing vessels with the area fast becoming a breeding ground for Pirates, Armed Robbery and the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices is also on the rise in our waters,

According to her, this problem can only be solved through cooperation between nations to fish out these criminals and Nurturing a unified front serves as a powerful tool for attaining positive outcomes in all developmental processes.

The Chief of Staff also stated that, there is a need now, more than ever for Africa, particularly the West and Central Africa Regions to have a united front to influence positive changes and recognition at the global level.

Background and History:
Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) was pinched in May 1975 (Charter of Abidjan) ate Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime transport (MINCONMAR).

The name was changed to MOWCA as part of reforms opted by the General Assembly of Ministers of Transport, at an extraordinary session of the Organisation held in Abidjan, the economic capital of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, from 4-6 August, 1999.

The objective of MOWCA is to serve as the
regional and international community for
handling all maritime matters that are
regional in character.

MOWCA unifies 25 countries on the West and Central African shipping range (inclusive of landlocked countries). These countries comprise of 20 coastal states bordering the north and South Atlantic Ocean.

By Kingsley Asiedu

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