Session III: Opportunities for Economic and Logistical Development with AFCFTA
Session Chair: Mr. Youssef Imghi, Port Expert in Maritime and Logistics, Founder and CEO of Portus Advisory International
Panel 1: A review of the architecture in the Gulf of Guinea. Are African ports ready for AfCFTA?
– Mr. Martin Boguikouma, Director General of Gabon Ports and Habour Authority (‘OPRAG’),
– Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority,
– Mr. Derman Razak, representing Rear Admiral Fogan K. Adegnon, Director General of the Port of Lome,
– Mr. Patrick Mpila, Representing Mr. Patrice Melom, Director General of the Port Authority of Kribi.
From the presentations, it came out that ports in West and Central Africa have embarked on massive development and expansion of transportation infrastructures to ensure connectivity and efficiency in cargo operations. Nigeria has earmarked the sum of 1.3 billion US Dollars for the rehabilitation of ports infrastructure including efforts to increase quay size and draught from about 7m to 13m, and ensuring rail connectivity linking all Nigerian sea ports. In Lome, Mineral quays are being rehabilitated and a dry port is being constructed to increase cargo reception capacity.
In the past few years, digitalization of port procedures has been in progress, as many ports of the subregion are keying-in to the implementation of Port Community Systems (PCS) and even the Integrated Management System to simplify procedures. The Port of Kribi is advancing in digitalization while Gabon is reforming its legal and administrative framework to facilitate trade.
The following are additional points that were made during the interactions:
– Customs charges shouldn’t only be competition driven, but should also have consideration for regional integration,
– Collaboration between Port Authorities and Customs, and between national representations of AFCFTA and the Ministries of Trade should be enhanced.