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Shipping & Logistics

Kenya reelected to lead region in maritime affairs

Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing delegates at a blue economy forum in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya last week put up a spirited fight to win a globally coveted seat at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

On Friday, Kenya was reelected to IMO Council under category C for the 2020-2021 biennium at the IMO headquarters in London during the 31st Assembly of IMO meeting in London.

Category (c) consists of 20 States not elected under categories (a) or (b) which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

Principal Secretary (PS) State Department for Shipping and Maritime Nancy Karigithu said on Friday moments after Kenya was reelected that the country would do all it can to continue delivering on the role bestowed by IMO members.

“We are hugely delighted to be tested in this way and to be found meriting of the confidence of our peers. We will continue to devote our time, efforts and resources in the development of the safety and security of shipping and the sustainable growth of the Maritime sector,” Dr Karigithu said.

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As a member of the IMO Council, Kenya will be part of the Executive Organ of IMO and will be responsible together with other elected member countries under the assembly, for supervising the work of the IMO across the globe.

“As a member of the Council, Kenya will perform functions together with other elected members of the council and such functions will be including to coordinate the activities of the organs of the IMO, consider the draft work programmes and budget estimates of the IMO and submit them to the Assembly,” she said.

Other functions will be to receive reports and proposals of the committees and other organs and submit them to the assembly and member states, “with comments and recommendations as appropriate”. Other roles are to take part in the election of the secretary-general, subject to the approval of the assembly, and enter into agreements or arrangements concerning the relationship of the organisation with other organisations, subject to approval by the Assembly.

“Kenya’s re-election to the IMO Council will be of benefit to not only the region but also to the wider international maritime community,” the PS said.

“Kenya’s re-election to the Council under Category ‘c’ will serve the interests of the Eastern and Central Africa sub-region, Horn of Africa and West Indian Ocean and the international maritime community in general.”

She added that the country’s continuous re-election to the council since 2001 has provided a solid voice at the IMO for Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes region consisting of Burundi, DRC Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, as well as the Horn of Africa Region and the island states of the Western Indian Ocean.

KMA Director General, Maj (Rtd) George Okon’go. said the reelection will enable Kenya to leverage blue economy by closely working with other key stakeholders.

Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping(ISCOS) acting secretary general Kassim Mpaata while congratulating Kenya on this achievement, said the rest of ISCOS Member States of Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia had to rally behind Kenya “to ensure that one of their own rises to occupy this prestigious position” in the global maritime arena dominated by global giants.

Speaking from London where he was attending the IMO Assembly, Mr Mpaata said Kenya deserved the win.

“Kenya’s reelection would help the region to influence the direction of various decisions at IMO which is the highest level of decision making for the global maritime industry,” he said.

“This can help the development of the region's maritime economies.”

Maritime expert, Andrew Mwangura said worldwide shipping countries have confirmed their confidence in Kenya’s representation in maritime affairs. “Kenya is strategically located along the shipping lanes of the western Indian Ocean. Supported by political stability Kenya processes enormous opportunities to sustainable maritime growth,” he said.

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