Report on the PMAESA Conference – Livingstone, 22-23 November 2017
The Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) held its 2017 Annual Conference in Livingstone, Zambia from 22-23 November 2017. The conference, which was being held in a land-linked country for the first time, was centred on the need to have an inclusive approach in addressing matters relating to maritime shipping and logistics.
Dr Henry Mutai, tralac Associate, represented tralac at the conference and presented a paper on “Examining the Link between Trade, Finance and Industrial Policies – What is the current picture in the Region”.
The workshop opened on Wednesday morning with a welcome address by Mr. Gerson Bisey/Uirab, the Namport CEO and PMAESA Chairman. Dr Kipyego Cheluget, the COMESA Assistant Secretary General, on behalf of the COMESA SG then gave his remarks.
Hon. Eng. Brian Mushimba, MP, Minister of Transport and Communications, then made a few remarks and invited the guest of honour to deliver the keynote speech and to open the conference.
The official opening and keynote speech was delivered by Her Honour, Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia. In her speech, Mrs. Wina observed that transport played a vital role in the movement of goods and services and that the theme of the conference was opportune as there was need for an inclusive approach in addressing matters relating to transportation and infrastructure development.
In concluding her remarks, she wished participants fruitful discussions and a joyous stay in Zambia.
The first substantive session of the conference featured two speakers, Mr. Mxolisi Notshulwana of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Dr. Shehu Gidado of the National Inland Waterways Authority.
The second substantive session of the first day had four speakers. The first speaker, Ms. Lauriette Sesoko of Transnet spoke on the topic “Advancement and growth of integrated tourism through public private partnership”. In her presentation she focussed on the South African cruise market and identified some of the barriers facing the success of the cruise market in Africa. She also updated participants on the status of cruise terminal development in South Africa and the role of the Ports Authorities in enabling cruise tourism.
The next speaker was Mr. Alain St. Ange, the former Minister of Tourism, Seychelles, on the topic “Cruise Africa Brand: Integrated Tourism Sector benchmark”. His emphasis was on the need for Africa to rewrite her own narrative and for African states to work together to build the profile of cruise tourism. Among his proposals was a suggestion that the AU create a tourism desk at the Commission.
The third speaker was Col. Andre Ciseau, the CEO, Seychelles Ports Authority, on “Yacht Lottery as a vehicle to segment and diversify integrated tourism”. He noted that yachting was a $27 billion industry and urged PMAESA to put yachts on their agenda. He also updated participants on a proposal to launch a lottery where yachts wishing to visit Eastern and Southern Africa would win certain benefits.
The last speaker of the day was Ms. Rosette Katungye from the African Union. Her presentation was on the topic of “Integrated Continental Approach to the Promotion of Tourism”. She noted that regional integration allowed for the development of continental policies to address tourism in view of the many attractions to be found around the continent.
Day Two of the Conference began with a presentation on Gender Issues by a representative from the African Union.
Participants were then able to choose which of the two parallel sessions they wished to attend. One session, in which I was privileged to make my presentation, was on Instruments for Diversified Trade in Value Chains, while the other was on Women Development in the Maritime and Logistics Sectors.
These were followed by two more parallel sessions, one on Capacity Development to Support Trade and Industrialization Strategies and the other on Assessing the Cause and Effect of ICT in Logistics and Maritime Sectors.
The final session of the day was on “The Role and Importance of the Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs in Land-linked Countries”.
The last function of the conference, held during the gala dinner was the Inaugural PMAESA Port Awards where various ports were awarded for excellence in various categories.
Issue(s) that would be of interest to tralac
Arising out of the presentations and discussions, the main area that would be of interest to tralac would be the work on trade facilitation that is being championed by PMAESA. Ports are a key element of the transport and communications infrastructure without which trade could not occur. Without efficient transport corridors and ports, African countries will have difficulty in trading competitively with each other and outside the continent. tralac should therefore explore areas in which it could work with PMAESA to sensitise PMAESA members on areas where capacity with regards to trade rules is lacking.
The conference provided a valuable forum for participants to exchange views on best practice with regards to building port infrastructure as well enhancing efficiency of ports. Ideas were also shared on how maritime tourism could be enhanced especially through increased cruise tourism.
The PMAESA CEO, Ms. Nozipho Mdawe, expressed her thanks to tralac for participating in the conference and expressed her desire for tralac to collaborate further with PMAESA in future.
I thank tralac for giving me the honour of representing it at this important conference.
This report was prepared by Dr. Henry K Mutai, tralac Associate.