IMO Boss Kitack Lim (L) and Minister for Transport Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah

The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to allow the Minister of Transport, Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, to use his good office to advocate the objectives of the Organization.

The advocacy should be geared towards decarbonisation of shipping on the African continent.

This request was made when Mr. Asiamah led Mr. Lim and a delegation of other international maritime experts to pay a courtesy call on the President at the Jubilee House in February 2023 after Accra had successfully hosted the first-ever Shipping Decarbonisation Conference.

The expected role of the Minister was wholeheartedly granted by President Akufo-Addo.

The request by Mr. Lim follows Mr. Asiamah’s invaluable contribution and commitment to green shipping in Ghana and the African continent.

With this advocacy role, the Transport Minister, who is also Chair of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), is expected to garner more interest on the African continent regarding the green shipping transition agenda.

In February 2023, Accra made history by successfully hosting the first-ever Shipping Decarbonisation Conference which brought together over 200 high-profile dignitaries from over 20 countries and other stakeholders in the maritime industry to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities for green shipping in Africa.

The goal of the two-day green shipping conference was to explore not only the challenges but also the opportunities for African countries that lie within this green transition.

It was also aimed at preparing Africa for the crucial transition to cleaner fuels for shipping and to explore the availability of Partnerships and the importance of Africa’s participation in Global Regulations.

Opening the conference, Mr. Asiamah, said the shipping industry emits 2-3 percent of the annual global GHS, with most ships in operation currently being powered by fossil fuels.

Worried about the phenomenon, he noted that it was necessary to apply regulatory measures to facilitate shipping transitions and reduce emissions as well as encourage the production of alternative low and zero-carbon fuels for shipping.

The IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, on his part, stressed the importance of partnership and funding in the shipping industry.

“There is a strong willingness and commitment to work with all stakeholders to explore and make a push towards renewable energy, to ensure that maritime transport benefits from the relevant investment and technology transfer”, he noted.

He added that the IMO would show global leadership towards efforts to decarbonize shipping by leading by example and providing a global framework for the maritime industry to strive for green shipping with the involvement of all member states.

Green shipping refers to efficient and environmentally friendly shipping practices that reduce the use of resources and energy to preserve the global environment from Green House and environmental pollutants.

Mr. Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has been Ghana’s Minister of Transport since 2017.

He made history on Thursday, July 29, 2021, by becoming the first Ghanaian to be elected Chair of the prestigious Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).

He took over from Mr. Khouraichi Thiam from the Republic of Senegal.

The objective of MOWCA is to serve the regional and international community by handling all maritime matters that are regional in character.

MOWCA unifies 25 countries on the West and Central African shipping range, inclusive of five landlocked countries.

These countries comprise 20 coastal states bordering the North and South Atlantic Oceans, and they are expected to provide the maritime link for landlocked countries to facilitate the seaborne trade of those that are landlocked.