Economy

Kenya back at UN shipping agency as Russia voted out

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Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya during the press conference in Nairobi on April 12, 2023. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

Kenya has been re-elected to represent eastern Africa and the Great Lakes region on the United Nations shipping agency’s governing council in an election that saw Russia kicked out.

Kenya is back into the Council under Category (c) for the biennium 2024 to 2025, and it will represent Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, the Horn of Africa region and the island states of the western Indian Ocean.

“We remain committed to partner with IMO in solving local challenges as well as administrative needs, which can be further strengthened to meet the ever-increasing technical cooperation needs of member states in the region,” said Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs minister Salim Mvurya on re-election.

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Russia lost after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged countries not to allow Moscow to be part of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) executive arm.

Russia, which has been in the IMO council for the past 63 years, came last in a secret ballot contested between 11 nations for the 10 seats on offer.

Kenya has had continuous re-election to the council since 2001 under Category C and it was extended last week where 25 countries who have special interests in maritime transport or navigation were competing for the slot during the 33rd Regular Session of the IMO General Assembly at the IMO headquarters in London.

Kenya was battling with 24 other countries, including the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland and Indonesia.

But this position is under threat from other countries across the globe that have expressed interest in the post.

IMO council members make decisions for the world’s maritime sector, and many countries have intensified their campaign for the coveted post.

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Kenya’s battle for the seat comes barely a month after it lost the IMO secretary-general post to Arsenio Velasco of the Republic of Panama who takes over on January 1 next year.

“Kenya reaffirms its commitment to support the IMO regional presence office in Nairobi, for the technical cooperation activities in the East and Southern Africa region, for the benefit of the member States.

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