Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, has identified measures that should be instituted in order for African investors to collaborate and contribute meaningfully to the development of the continent’s maritime industry.
These measures include the creation of incentive development, lowering of tariffs and logistics cost, creating a conducive atmosphere, building an African maritime cluster and creating partnerships between the main logistics hubs in Africa.
Others, according to Afolabi, include implementation of environmentally friendly measures within the African shipping environment, adopting a number of measures to further promote the maritime transport activities within Africa, costs efficiency within ports, establishment of bilateral treaties or agreements regarding security in logistics and transportation sector as well as developing the maritime strategies that will enhance maritime operators in Africa, among others.
Speaking as the Guest Speaker at the 1st African Congress for Transportation and Logistics, a Pan-African maritime conference, held in Morocco last week, the SIFAX Group boss urged governments in Africa to open up their countries for African investors to invest and contribute their quota to its rapid development.
He said: “In order to increase partnership among Africans and encourage massive local investment in various sectors of the economy across the continent, it is my firm belief governments in Africa must open up the space for interested African investors, encourage them with economic incentives and inviting regulatory and legal framework as well as strong political support. This way, Africans quota in the transformation of the continent’s economy will increase significantly.’’
He said this partnership among Africans are already taking shape, citing the example of the newly created MNM African Shipping Line, a business interest between some African investors with SIFAX Group as the lead company.
“Our maritime company, MNM African Shipping Line, solely owned by Africans, has always been inspired by his interesting vision and guidelines, especially the King of Morocco, His Majesty’s speech in Abidjan, where he asked “Africa to trust Africa and have confidence in Africa”.
“This for me is the main component of our DNA in establishing an African Shipping Line conceived to help Africa to transport all forms of goods for the development of Africa, economically and infrastructure wise. We believe Africans must launch initiatives that will lead to investments, developments and wealth creation in Africa and not remained a ‘colony’ while professing independence. Independence, to us is the freedom to initiate, explore, invest and reap the fruits that will lead to positive development of the continent known as Africa.
“It is our strong notion that transportation and logistics are essential keys to the development of any nation and its infrastructures. Thus, for more than 20 years we have invested billions of dollars in Africa through our Holding company, known as SIFAX GROUP, a company seen by many as one of the highly credible organisations in West Africa. It operates in various sectors such as ports & logistics, hotel & hospitality, oil & gas, shipbuilding and terminal ownership. It employs directly and indirectly several thousands of our African brothers and sisters,” Afolabi said.