The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said on Tuesday that African continent should come together to develop their own ports to compete with any other standard in the world.
Amaechi made this assertion while chairing the session at the International Association of Port and Harbour (IAPH) African regional conference organised by Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) in Abuja.
He said that trade and ports development was essential for the economic growth of any nation.
He said that Africa can also develop their own global standard that can compete with European standard, which would stop every other country forcing their standard on Africa.
According to him, the global standard will be such a one that will allow other continents meet up with the requirements that can facilitate trade within countries globally.
“Trade facilitation is essential to economic growth and economic growth leads to employment; I have had an argument with Chinese company on rail about international standard and they ask what is international standard?.
” At the end of the day, we realised that international standard was the European standard, from Canada upward they have their own standard, in part of Asian they also have their standard, so why can’t us as African have our own standard.
“It is only important that the standard must be able to compete with other global standard, once we can compete at that level it becomes international standard, but because we are not properly developed, everyone is forcing their own standard on us.”
Amaechi said that the global standard would consider other tools for competition, so that port managers can trade effectively within and outside Africa.
He said that IAPH is an organisation whose mission is to promote the interest of ports worldwide through strong member relationships, collaboration and information-sharing, which will help to resolve common issues and continually improve on service of ports to the maritime industries.
The minister said some of the strategies the association employs to achieve its mission includes strengthening relationship among the member ports by facilitating interactions, dialogue, problem-solving and formulating of best practices.
He said that the programme would create platforms, focused on resolving complex port and maritime industry concerns and building greater efficiency and sustainability for ports worldwide.
Amaechi, however, listed scarcity of funds as the major challenges hampering the multi-modal connectivity in Nigeria from rail, road and port expansion.