A two-day conference and exhibition dubbed, Blue Career and Business Expo 2021 has been held to connect young people especially women to leaders in the maritime industry.
Under the theme, Building a Robust Blue Economy, Leaving No One Behind, Maritime sector stakeholders were urged to tap into the latest innovations and best practices in ensuring a robust maritime security regime which is key in achieving the objectives of a sustainable blue economy and overall economic growth.
The Canadian Ambassador to Ghana, Kati Csaba, said Canada is deeply supportive of women entering careers that are traditionally dominated by men including defense, science, technology, and engineering.
She encouraged organizations to make specific efforts to recruit, train and promote women who are interested in the maritime sector.
The Ambassador revealed that, “Canada and Ghana are currently engaged in a bilateral partnership to promote women’s participation in peace and security through the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations. Women in the maritime sector, particularly maritime security are an important part to furthering the Women Peace and Security Agenda.”
Dr Kofi Mbiah, A Maritime Law Consultant who delivered the keynote address lamented that whereas Africa’s 38 coastal states had a total coastline, including islands covering 48,000 kilometres, as well as over 100 port facilities which handled containers and various forms of cargo, the continent held a meagre stake in the ocean-based economy.
African-owned ships, he noted, accounted for about 1.2 per cent of world shipping and about 0.9 per cent by gross tonnage.
Dr Mbiah regretted that Africa was the least maritime conscious continent of all the continents in terms of the ownership of vessels, volume of sea-borne trade, including the value of fish landings per capita.
He said, “most African countries suffer from sea blindness and have failed to utilize the oceans for their development. This could be as a result of ignorance of the opportunities within the ocean economy. It could also be because of a lack of capacity. Also, It could be due to absence of a political will. We as a people must be interested in the over USD 1.5 trillion economy with the potential of providing over 40 million jobs by 2030 and even more by 2063 as pointed out by the EU.”
The Special Rapporteur for Piracy and Maritime Security at the African Union, Kathleen Quartey-Ayensu, said the expectation of the AU was that each member state would take the necessary steps to develop a maritime policy in the next three years.
She said, “every country should have its own plan for the maritime sector. In the next 15 years, we need to build up a minimum of 20-30% female capacity all round in the blue economy.”
The Commandant of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Major General Francis Ofori, in his remarks said the maritime sector remained a key contributor to the country’s economic growth.
He said “developing of a blue economy requires a paradigm shift. That means new ways of doing things.”
The two-day conference was put together by Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI) a maritime transport non-for-profit organisation, in partnership with Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA).