…Works on Empowering women for Effective participation in the maritime sector***
The theme has also been carefully selected in recognition of international Maritime (IMO) ‘s 2019 Gender programme which noted that, African Ship Owners Association (ASA) on Tuesday tasked the country to invest in ships for a more effective shipping trade regime on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The Secretary General, Mrs Funmi Folorunsho gave the charge at the Annnual Conference of Women In Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica) Nigeria held in Lagos.
According to her, since the signing of the agreement, nobody has said anything significant about what should be the stand of the maritime industry and how the country could optimise obtainable benefits from AfCFTA.
She pointed that there should be policy development towards this effect, urging WIMA to chart the course and see that something was done to make the change.
“There is cargo to carry and this period, with the signing of the agreement, is the time to invest in ship owning, in the country,” she said.
She urged women to develop themselves as no one would take them seriously simply because they are pretty; but rather because they have something to offer.
In her contribution, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, said that the adoption of WIMA Nigeria to the maritime strategy of 2050 is focused on building Africa’s Blue Economy was apt.
Saraki who was represented by Hajia Aisha Musa, Director, Human resources of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) pointed out that the ‘blue economy’ was an integral and evolving area of sustainable development.
She said that to achieve this, there was need to focus on providing a platform for training, capacity building, corporate and entrepreneurial development of African women in the maritime sector.
She therefore urged women to lead in the drive towards guiding the industry, particularly in shipping, where they are required to be steely determined and persistent in the face of daunting odds.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, called for establishment of special instution for girls to take courses that relates to science, technology, engineering and Mathematics.
Bala-Usman represented by Mr Adams Jatto, also appealed to government agencies as well as industry stakeholders to increase the tally for girls to enable them tap potentials in the maritime industry.
Rtd. Cpt. David Ogah, called for a redefined maritime policy in the country that would take cognisance of women participation.
He urged government to address the maritime security to enable the female participants to be consistent and dedicated to their duties.
The Director of Special Duties of NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, advised maritime women to emulate teamwork for better leadership position in the sector.
“Women are much more than beauty, they have brains, brawn and ideas and so they should make use of it,” she said.
Meanwhile, the President of WIMA Nigeria, Hajia Bola Muse has urged government on policies to accelerate and empower women in the maritime sector.
According to her, there is need for government to work with the association to come up with policies and programme that would accelerate gender equality and empowerment of women in the maritime sector.
“There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to life communities, companies and even countries, as countries with more gender equality have better economic growth.
“It is imperative that stakeholders in the maritime community kick-off an aggressive campaign to encourage more female participation in seafaring and maritime trade,” she said.
Muse added that to also address this imbalance, government agencies and private sector investors must also be deliberate about increasing the tally of women in the sector.
She pointed that there was the need to encourage young girls to take interest in ScienceTechnology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in order to pursue careers in shipping, marine, operations and the engineering sub-sector.
It is noteworthy that the objectives of WIMAfrica is to promote collaboration amond national, regional and international maritime organisations.
The association works to ensure the advancement of gender equality in the maritime sector and support mainstream women participation in all aspects of the Blue Economy.
The Chairman of the Conference, Mrs Foluke Akinmoladun, however thanked the Almighty God for the success of the Conference.
Akinmoladun urged women who were yet to participate in the maritime business to come and acquire knowledge and practical skills to enable them become effective participant in the sector
Dignitaries, maritime expert, cadets and other participants that thDignitariese ongoing WIMAfrica Nigerian Chapter annual conference of 2019, with the Theme: Empowering Women for Effective Participation in the Maritime sector.
– MODINAT ENIODUNMO