Yokohama, Japan, 2 June 2013
Speech by Mr. Koji Sekimizu,
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
Distinguished Chairman, distinguished Heads of States, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for allowing me to present IMO's perspectives on sustainable African development. My statement is on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
I believe that maritime development and promotion of maritime industry will be an initial explosive and triggering device for Africa’s own economic development and will play a central role in achieving the TICAD V objectives.
International trade is critical to almost all African economies. Piracy off the coast of Somalia demonstrated the vital role of shipping for world trade. Over 90% of African imports and exports are conducted by sea transport. Promotion of seaborne trade with African countries is fundamentally important both in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and now with the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Maritime transport is a vital facilitator of African trade. The access to ocean transport is a fundamental requirement for modernization and industrialization of African countries and in achieving transformative, resilient and inclusive growth across Africa. Capacity building and ensuring investment for the maritime infrastructure holds the key for sustainable development in Africa.
My message to TICAD V was that, as set out in the African Union's 2050 Integrated Maritime Strategy, maritime development should be placed at a high position in the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
I would urge that TICAD V attach great importance to:
1. Developing African ports, domestic shipping, maritime and maritime-related industries such as offshore energy, to enhance intra-African and international trade;
2. Facilitating maritime transport by removing trade barriers and reviewing national maritime and criminal legislation and its implementation;
3. Attracting investments in the African transport sector;
4. Promoting the study of maritime subjects and technology in African universities and scholarship and fellowship for students to educate maritime experts; and
5. Encouraging African States to develop national maritime business plans as well as national and regional maritime security strategies.
IMO is the UN specialized agency responsible for safe, secure and efficient shipping and protection of the marine environment. IMO has robust technical cooperation programmes that give a high priority to Africa in the allocation of resources.
Maritime transport is essential for Africa and has a key role in achieving the TICAD V objectives. I ask all African countries to please see the way forward. New frontiers and opportunities are wide open to you; that is maritime development, the blue economy and blue growth. Without maritime transport, African development would not be possible.
On behalf of IMO, I look forward to continuing our contribution to the sustainable socio-economic development of the African continent that is the aspiration of the TICAD Action Plan. TICAD should formalize the need for maritime development and maritime capacity building in the context of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.