A new Regional Presence Office (RPO) for IMO in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in Alexandria, Egypt is set to open by the end of the year, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) (20 July 2023) between IMO and Egypt.    

Mr. Xiaojie Zhang, Director, Technical Cooperation Division, IMO, and Rear Admiral Hussein El-Geziry, Chairman of the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety, signed the agreement at IMO Headquarters in London. IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, His Excellency Mr. Sherif Kamel, Egyptian Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Rear Admiral Reda Ismail, Head of the Maritime Transport Sector and representatives of Egypt were also present during the signing ceremony.    

The RPO will enhance the implementation of the IMO Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) for the Arab States in the MENA region, taking into consideration the mandates of existing regional entities in the Mediterranean (REMPEC), Red Sea (PERSGA) and ROPME (MEMAC) Sea areas.   

Objectives of the MoU include improving institutional capacity-building and general maritime development in the Arab States in the MENA region; and strengthening self-reliance in the maritime field at national, subregional and regional levels. A position of Regional Coordinator will also be available.    

The decision to boost IMO's presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the establishment of an RPO was made by the IMO Technical Cooperation Committee at its 72nd session in October 2022. This was subsequently endorsed in December 2022 by the IMO Council at its 128th session.     

The Alexandria office expands IMO's network of regional presence offices: Côte d'Ivoire (Francophone) and Ghana (Anglophone) for west and central Africa, Kenya for eastern and southern Africa, and the Philippines for East Asia. IMO also funds one Technical Cooperation Officer within the Pacific Community.   

In addition, IMO's regional presence in the Caribbean is being boosted. Following the signing of a letter of agreement, the IMO Regional Presence Office for the Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago will be formally established this year. Currently, the Caribbean region is supported by a Regional Coordinator located in the Port of Spain.