The Minister for Transport, Hon. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has made a passionate appeal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other big players in the Blue Economy to effectively collaborate with Ghana to develop its maritime industry.

Among the areas Hon. Asiamah is seeking for collaboration are safety, port expansion and reforms to transforms the Ghanaian maritime industry.

“The marine belongs to all of us but the business on our waters do not belong to all of us. So, I will appeal to the IMO and the big players to also try to collaborate with us. We are not saying that they should give us aid or gift but they should try to collaborate with us in terms of safety and some other areas. Apart from that, we need a lot of reforms to at least catch up with the big players. So if they are bringing in any reforms – not that we want them out of business but we also cannot be going back forever. A journey with a thousand mile begins with a step”, he noted.

He added “…without your collaboration, it will be very difficult to protect and develop the maritime industry”.

The Transport Minister made this observation when the Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim paid a courtesy call on him at his office, Tuesday, to outline some strategic plans the Organization intends to embark on to support the maritime industry in Africa, especially, Ghana.

Mr. Lim whose visit to Ghana was the first since assuming the highest position of the IMO had told the Transport Minister that a lot of activities in the maritime industry in Africa are not much known to the rest of the world, hence, his decision to visit some countries in the continent to familiarize himself with the challenges confronting them and see how best the Organization could support them.

“Singapore has seen a lot of development for the last 20 years. Similarly, I see the big potentials here [Ghana]. I am talking with my people on how we will promote relevant economic activities at the international level. So, we need a strategy. That is why I have asked the technical division to set up a special strategy for Africa. However, leadership is a very important key towards this developmental drive”, he noted.

Hon. Asiamah commenting further, lauded Mr. Lim for showing keen interest and developing a strategic plan to support the development of the maritime industry in Africa but cautioned that such plans must have the political backing of the various African leaders.

“…the continent of Europe is different from Africa. The problems of Asia is not the same as the problems of Africa. If you want to adopt a common strategy in solving Africa’s problems, then you are making a mistake. In Africa, everything is about political decisions. You cannot take these decisions without involving politicians. You need the political support before you can take a major decision for the African continent. Without the political support, it will be difficult. In Europe where you don’t even need the government to come in because the systems are there – the institutions are established. But here, we are weak when it comes to institutional arrangement so everything is on the government. So, together we can formulate the policies and plans to make sure that our maritime industry in Africa is also solid”, he emphasized.