The Africa (sub-Saharan) region is composed of developing countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden:
Of the 48 countries in the region, 37 are IMO Member States and 33 are Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 15 are land-locked and six are Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Three (3) IMO Member States from the region, namely, Kenya, Liberia and South Africa were elected Members of IMO Council for the biennium 2012-2013.
The region has a total coastline of 30,725 km with vast inland waterways and river navigation, including Lake Victoria (shared by Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda), which is the second largest fresh-water lake in the world.
Regional Presence in Africa
IMO has three regional presence offices located in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Accra (Ghana) and Nairobi (Kenya) based on Memoranda of Understanding signed between IMO and the host Governments. The regional coordinators play important roles in the management and execution of the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programmes (ITCP), and work closely with national, regional institutions/organizations and Regional Economic Commissions (RECs).
During 2010-2011, the three Regional Coordinators (RCs) in Africa continued to contribute to the facilitation, implementation and delivery of the ITCP in their respective sub-regions, by implementing about twenty (20) activities covering various aspects of maritime safety/security and marine environment protection. They facilitated and coordinated a total of twenty seven (27) missions, workshops and seminars.
In addition, the Regional Coordinators undertook forty five (45) advisory missions to maritime administrations either to carry out needs assessments or to provide follow-up for previous activities and in addition, made high-level contacts with the relevant national authorities to identify their maritime needs.
The RCs also represented IMO, making presentations or speeches, at thirteen (13) meetings and conferences organized by both national and regional institutions during 2010-2011.
Priority programme for 2012-2013
A great deal of work has been undertaken by IMO to enhance maritime safety/security and to improve marine environment protection in Africa. Taking into account the African Union (AU) Plan of Action and the revised African Maritime Transport Charter, including the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, IMO will continue to give priority to Africa in the 2012-2013 ITCP, the principal aims of which, among others, are to contribute to the attainment of the MDGs and to address the special needs of LDCs and SIDS.
Many countries have yet to accept pertinent IMO conventions and to upgrade their respective maritime administrations. In this respect, IMO will continue to support the latter in their efforts to strengthen their institutional and human capacities to allow them to fulfil their implementation responsibilities adequately. To this end, further support will be provided in the field of promoting the ratification and implementation of IMO conventions, particularly, STCW-F and the revised STCW Convention. The facilitation of international maritime traffic and the safety of maritime navigation will also be addressed and specific training programmes delivered for SAR/GMDSS operators, marine casualty and incident investigators, flag State surveyors and port State inspectors to improve the functioning of the Abuja MoU on PSC.
In view of Africa's huge coastline, the countries of the continent have addressed marine environment protection through various activities organized in cooperation with IMO and other institutions such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the AU, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the Global Initiative for West and Central Africa (GI WACAF) and the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) Project.
As a result, the principal constraints and objectives have been identified and, in this respect, the focus will be on the provision of further technical assistance and training programmes in the ratification of the MARPOL 73/78, OPRC 1990 and OPRC-HNS Protocols, the CLC Protocols 1992 and FUND Protocols 1992, the BWM 2004, AFS 2001 and other Conventions and facilitating the safe handling and shipment of dangerous goods and bulk cargoes, among others.
The programme will also continue to strengthen and support the continuation of the IMO Regional Presence Scheme in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Kenya.
In the continued efforts to improve the delivery of ITCP, the Secretariat has developed a template for “country Maritime Profile” aimed at identifying specific maritime needs of the developing countries. The aim is to deliver appropriate and targeted technical assistance aimed at addressing the country’s maritime needs.
IMO will continue to support the implementation of the recommendations in annex 1 to resolution 1 of the IMO Conference on Search and Rescue (SAR) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), held in Florence, Italy in October 2000, which led to the establishment of five Regional Maritime Rescue Centres (RMRCCs) and 26 Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres (MRSCs) in total for the African countries bordering the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Strengthening national and regional capacities remains the cornerstone of the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS) Programme, placing particular emphasis on gender specific fellowships which represent a practical mechanism for reinforcing access to training opportunities for women in developing countries. One of the outcomes of this approach is the identification and selection of women for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes.
The Association of Women managers in the Maritime Sector in East and Southern Africa (WOMESA)
, launched through the IWMS Programme in December 2007, continued to build national capacities by supporting the establishment of national chapters in Namibia and the United Republic of Tanzania. Feedback from the associations shows that the regional context is strengthened considerably when the participating countries include representation from local associations whose work in the field does much to enhance the visibility and recognition of women in their respective maritime administrations. A meeting of female maritime administrators was conducted jointly by WOMESA and IMO in December 2011, around the subject of "Changing the face of maritime administration". Hosted by Mauritius, the meeting included participants from Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles and
the United Republic of Tanzania. Major issues under discussion, within the context of regional cooperation in East and Southern Africa, included dangers posed by piracy in the Indian Ocean waters and maritime education and research.
Human resource capacity-building
As at the end of May 2012, seven hundred and eighty four (784) African students had been trained at the World Maritime University (WMU)
since 1984, representing some 24.2% of the total number of WMU graduates worldwide and one hundred and sixty four (164) have, so far, graduated from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)
, representing some 30.9% of the total number of students worldwide since 1989.
There are thirteen (13) maritime training centres in Africa (including one Regional Maritime Academy and one Regional Maritime University) providing training for most of the seafarers in the shipping industry. IMO has, over the years, provided technical assistance to a number of African countries to assist them in meeting requirements on the implementation of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (1978 STCW Convention, as amended). As a result, eighteen (18) countries appeared on the “White List” as at June 2012.