The South African Marine Safety Authority (SAMSA), an entity of the South African department of Transport is hosting the second Maritime Administrators Conference (MARADS) at the Sinosteel Plaza, in Sandton from 22 to 24 October 2013.
The event will immediately precede the African Maritime Indaba, scheduled to be held at the IDC Conference on 24 and 25 October 2013.
Inspired by the objectives defined in the African Marine Charter adopted in Accra, Ghana in 2012, the conference is focused on developing intra-African marine trade as well as marine trade between Africa and other parts of the world.
The first MARADS conference followed later the same year in Mombasa, Kenya, and the purpose of this was to set up and define the Association of Maritime Administrations in line with African Union (AU) strategic objectives. South Africa accepted the position of Interim Chair and Secretariat at this conference, as well as the responsibility of convening a follow-up conference in 2013.
Delegates will also review such issues as ship financing and other challenges facing African ship owners and take forward resolutions made at the first two events, held last year.
During MARADS, the constitution, structure and terms of reference of the Association of Maritime Administrators will be debated, refined and adopted, and office bearers will be confirmed.
“This will be an historic event,” says Tsietsi Mokhele, SAMSA CEO.
“Africa as a continent is re-defining its position in global maritime trade and we are constructing the structures and methodologies with which to do that.”
With the economies of the developed world in turmoil and new businesses in Asia facing tough competition, shipping entrepreneurs are turning their attention to Africa. As the world’s second-largest continent, it has large and valuable reserves of minerals and other commodities. It is also home to more than one billion people, many of whom are starting to move out of poverty and represent a significant developing market.
According to the World Bank, a third of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa grew at more than 6% in 2012, and the continent is likely to grow at 5.2% this year. As a result, shipping entrepreneurs are investigating the potential that Africa represents, and South Africa in particular could well become a major maritime power.
“What few people realise is that 90% of Africa’s imports and exports are transported by sea,” says Mokhele, “and that 98% of all sea trade on the continent passes through South Africa.”
With a coastline of nearly 3 000 kilometres in length, territorial waters that extend 22 kilometres out to sea and several exclusive economic zones (EZZs) supporting thriving fisheries, South Africa is well positioned to be the leading maritime nation on the continent.
“Africa’s infrastructure and trading capacity must nevertheless be such that we can reap the benefits that accrue from increasing economic activities on the continent and from South Africa’s unique geo-economic position,” says Mokhele. “It is for this reason that we strongly support the AU’s maritime objectives, and look forward to creating the structures needed to take African maritime trade into the future.”
Given the lack of awareness about maritime trade on the continent, it is important for South Africa – with its maritime history and established capabilities – to show leadership in realising the objectives of Heads of Maritime Administrations (MARADS), Association of Ship Owners, the African Maritime Charter and the African Integrated Maritime Strategy.
“In this way, we will not only be able to strengthen maritime capacity across the continent, but also to develop South Africa’s extraordinary potential,” says Mokhele.
For more information about the SA Maritime Safety Authority, visit www.samsa.org.za