The African Development Bank, AfDB, and the ECOWAS Commission have reiterated their support for the establishment of a sealink project to help deepen trade in the West African sub-region.
Dr Ousmane Dore, Resident Representative, African Development Bank, made this known at Sealink Investors Forum in Accra.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is the initiative of NEXIM Bank in collaboration with the Federation of the West and Central Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FEWACCI), and an Integrated Logistic Services provider (TRANSIMEX) based in Cameroon to help facilitate regional trade. The 60 million dollar project is expected to take off by 2014.
“This investors’ forum is also timely in the sense that it aligns with the clarion call for Africa’s transformation by the president of the African Development Bank Group, Dr Donald Kaberuka, during the bank’s Annual General Meeting held in Marrakesh last month.
“The AfDB is thus pleased to join other development partners and agencies, investors and entrepreneurs to take part in this high level discussion on how to finance the creation of regional maritime shipping company,’’ he said.
He said that establishing the company would further bridge the resource endowed continent’s artificial boundaries through seamless and logistic services in the region.
According to him, two central pillars of the bank’s long term strategy are infrastructure development and regional integration.
He added that in spite of the significant role of maritime services in infrastructure transformation of the continent, efforts made by individual countries have not yielded the desired result, saying that low investment and lack of coordinated effort have remained largely the cause of under performance in the sector.
“The establishment of the sealink promotional company Limited as the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to drive the establishment of the regional maritime shipping company is, therefore, meaningful and innovative in identifying ways and resources required to actualise the project.’’
ECOWAS Commission Vice President, Dr Toga Mcintosh, said that the Commission would continue to support efforts that would help deepen trade in the region. He said that a lot of challenges had hindered regional integration, adding that the presidents of various countries and the ECOWAS heads of states meeting have agreed to reduce those challenges.
He said that trade and investment was one of the major focal points of ECOWAS, saying “Sealink is one project that we hope will facilitate regional integration.”
The Chairman, House Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Related Matters, Mr Jones Onyeriri, said that Nigerian parliament had given the project full support. “As a committee, we are fully aware of what the NEXIM Bank is doing and a law would be enacted to fully back the project, and even in the cause of its operation, we will still back it up,’’ he said.