The new Secretary General of Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) Mr. Jean Marie-Koffi of the Port of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire was officially sworn into office in Apapa Lagos yesterday, taking the baton from Augustin Fatondji of Benin Republic.
At a brief ceremony to mark the change of baton in Apapa yesterday, Koffi promised to foster better ties among the 22 member nations of the association of which Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is also a critical member.
The association’s headquarters is located at Park Lane in Apapa, Lagos.
The new Secretary General said that no one nation can achieve a seamless port operations without understanding the emerging trend in the sector.
Koffi who promised to consolidate on the gains of his predecessor, Augustin Fatondji of Benin Republic noted that, PMAWCA is an example of a regional co-operation which would help member nations to share information that would help grow the region economy.
He also promised to leverage from deliberate government policies of member nations aimed at improving ports in the region.
“Successful implementation of the Code of Conduct is expected to stimulate economic development in the member states, develop sustainable port operations and promote the development of the maritime sector.
“Going forward, PMAWCA will build on what my predecessor had done and create a network for sharing port and maritime security information, intelligence gathering and information sharing as the association will seek to contribute towards the wider effort to strengthening maritime security,” he said.
He added that the future of the development of the region lies in the strengthening of its multi-modal infrastructure systems to ensure the networking of the ports to the hinterland, where massive natural and man-made wealth in resources is generated.
He said that without this coordinated linkage, the targets for growth will remain a mirage while the region standards of living will continue to remain at globally abysmal levels .
Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala-Usman, while congratulating the newly-elected secretary-general on his election victory, assured him of maximum cooperation by the authority to achieving the association set objectives.
Usman who was represented at the ocassion by the General Manager, MD’s office, Chinwe Abama said NPA would give him all the necessary support to advance the work of PMAWCA and enhance the fortunes of the Port Industry in the sub-region.
“We equally committed ourselves from the outset to contribute to the improvement in the quality of services of our port activities and services of our members in order to promote the sustainable socio-economic development of our countries and the sub-region.
“We also told ourselves that we would contribute to the improvement, coordination and harmonization of equipment and services offered by our members in addition to establishing and consolidating on our partnership relations with associations, institutions or organizations working in the Transport and Maritime Trade sector,” Usman said.
Usman promised that NPA would continue to play its role as the host and offer, whenever possible, continued support and cooperation to ensure the growth of the assocication.
Speaking earlier, the out gone Secretary General, Augustin Fatondji, said that on assumption of office about a year ago, he set his mind to achieving two set objectives which include efficiency and humility.
He noted that the PMAWCA election contested by 17 countries held at the just-concluded 40th Council Meeting of the association in Lome, Togo.
He said that Marie-Koffi defeated two other contestants, Iliyasu Idrisu from the Port of Douala, Cameroon and Semie Pere from Port of Togo.
He said that the new secretary-general would serve for the next four years in Lagos, headquarters of the association.