IN a move to checkmate the foreign dominance of the shipping industry in Africa, the African Union has concluded plans to put together an African Cabotage regime that will see only African owned vessels trading within its coast.
To this end, the Union has also come up with African Maritime Transport Charter with which it hope to use to develop the shipping industry in Africa
Speaking to SWEETCRUDE in Lagos recently, Ms Funmi Folorunsho, Executive Secretary, Africa Shippers Association, said that the Union has mandated the association to get all countries within the continent to sign the Charter so as to ensure that no country allow any foreign vessels into its waters.
The document, according to Folorunsho, will keep all the mother vessels out of Africa as only African vessels will be allowed to move cargoes within the coast of the continent.
She explained that the group expects some resistance and protests from whoever will be affected by the move, adding that the moment the charter is signed by all African countries, shipping business in Africa will begin to boom again.
Her words “ African Union has decided to bring all Governments in Africa together to sign what we call the African Maritime Transport Charter[ the Bible of shipping in Africa], because I am a Christian, I will not use the word Bible, but that Charter provides for a development strategy for Africa.
“ they are going to introduce Cabotage in the entire continent, they have asked all countries to introduce Cabotage. What this means is that, there will be no hiding place for non -Africans to continue to dominate trade in Africa.
“You see foreigners bring their mother vessels into African waters and use smaller vessels to move products back and forth our waters, but when these v essels cannot enter any African country, they will be forced to stay outside Africa
“Very shortly we will have a situation where only African vessels will be carrying African goods within African coast, by God’s grace and with the push from African Union .