Knowledge and Skills Sharing Critical for the Maritime Economy

Published Date: 
Thu, 08/29/2019

Nairobi – Kenya’s flagship Bandari Maritime Academy has been identified as being well-suited to play a leading role in supporting skills development on maritime matters in the Western Indian Ocean as well as the East and Horn of Africa.

Human trafficking, smuggling, piracy and newer forms of transnational organized crime are emerging threats in the region which is also a major source, transit and destination hub for migrants, many of whom risk their lives by crossing the oceans in search of better economic opportunities.

Bandari’s proposed role is among the outcomes of a maritime workshop hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) from 20 –21 August 2019. 

The workshop was organized in the framework of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme. BMM supports the cooperation of maritime actors along the East Coast of Africa to enhance safe, orderly and regular migration in the region and supports national authorities in addressing migrant smuggling and trafficking.

Through Bandari, which is located at Kilindini Port in Mombasa County, the government of Kenya is aiming to build the capacity of qualified seafarers in the country and the region to meet the needs of a regional and globalized emerging blue economy sector, along with understanding and enhanced response to thwarting and diminishing the effects of criminal networks.

Bandari was launched in 2019 as a regional centre of excellence in maritime training and was established as part of ongoing reforms in the maritime transport industry in the country. 

Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa, noted the complex nexus between migration, development and security implies that policy-making needs to address these phenomena concurrently if it is to lead to mutual benefit. “The interdependency between migration, trade and development requires enhanced cooperation for safe maritime migration,” he said.

The workshop was held at a time when the Western Indian Ocean region is becoming a global epicenter for migration, on both mainland Africa and in the island states. Participants at the workshop were urged to support the region to work towards enhancing knowledge on maritime migration given its relationship with development.

A draft copy of a proposed Maritime Security handbook was presented to stakeholders during the workshop. It presents frameworks upon which member states can start to build their own strategies and implement maritime-related laws at national level. The comments and feedback received at the workshop will be incorporated into the handbook.

Nancy Karigithu, Kenya’s Permanent Secretary for Maritime and Shipping Affairs, said many governments in Africa are yet to prioritize the importance of the maritime environment, and to allocate the necessary resources to ensure that the sector remain an economic asset. 

Karigithu hailed the recent formation of the Kenya Coast Guard Service along with the establishment of national information sharing centers by the West Indian Ocean states as steps in the right direction.

The workshop brought together representatives from government, research institutions and non-governmental bodies from 12 countries, namely: Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion Island, Seychelles and Tanzania. 

About BMM: 

BMM is a regional, multi-year and multi-partner programme funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), coordinated by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The overall objective of BMM is to improve migration management in the region, and in particular to protect migrants within the Horn of Africa. IOM is one of the main implementing partners alongside UNODC, GIZ, Expertise France, Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL and the British Council. BMM covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

For more information please contact: Parul Mehra, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, , Tel: +254 709 889 000