The new award is proudly displayed on the table of Patrice Melom, General Manager of the Port Authority of Kribi (PAK). This is for having outclassed, in so short a time, the “Milestone Achievement Award” trophy, awarded on 21 October in Brussels to PAK’s GM by the jury of the Rebranding Africa Awards. On 9 November 2023, the jury of the 7th Edition of African Ports Awards conferred the “Best Quayside Productivity” award to PAK. This award was presented at the end of the annual meeting of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA).
The Nigerian Ports Authority hosted the latest Pan-African meeting of port stakeholders from 7 to 9 November 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria. As an active member of the PMAWCA, PAK took part in the workshops with an important delegation led by the General Manager himself. The central theme of the workshop was, “Ports and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”. The main objective was to take stock of the implementation of this Trade Agreement in the ports of West and Central Africa. Martin Boguikouma, General Manager of the Office des Ports et Rades of Gabon and Current Chairman of the PMAWCA, said that ports urgently needed to make the required changes to meet up with the challenges posed by AfCFTA, which will help in accelerating integration; stimulating the production and processing of raw materials; and boosting industrialization on the African continent. A common agreement was reached at the end of discussions and debates among stakeholders in the sector: port communities are definitely a keystone in the building of a Pan-African continental market. In addition, without the inclusion of ports and multimodal transport corridors, the AfCFTA will not be able to transform the intra-African trade potential.
The 43rd PMAWCA Council hereby made the following recommendations: Ports must be more aware of the traffic potential that could be involved in maritime and logistics exchanges between countries in Africa; States should support the funding of new ships, new shipping lines, and new maritime services for the intra-continental and inter-coastal African market; ports must continue to work on their inland infrastructure network so that the AfCFTA can accelerate the consolidation of logistical flows with the eradication of red tape and the facilitation of the cross-border passage of goods; port services must be in line with traffic growth prospects for future years (6% on average in the PMAWCA zone), with amenities that are not just natural or energy-based; digitization and dematerialization are key and must be systematized in all PMAWCA port communities, with protocols and standards which ensure traffic continuity and fluidity.
Finally, it is worth noting that during this 43rd Council, Jean Marie KOFFI was reappointed as Secretary General of the Association for a final 4-year term. The next PMAWCA Annual Council, the 44th of its kind, is scheduled for November 2024 in the Republic of Guinea, under the theme: “Ports and the Marine Coastal Environment”.