Piracy under scrutiny
THE resurgence of piracy, human trafficking and dumping of toxic wastes in Africa's coastal waters is to be put in the spotlight.
Increased piracy is at the top of the agenda of African states and the international community, as also is illegal fishing, which has been going on for decades.
Ministers responsible for maritime transport from African countries will assemble at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban today and tomorrow to debate how to deal with this global problem affecting Africa.
They will meet under the theme: "Creating a Safe, Secure and Clean Maritime Transport Industry in Africa."
The importance oftransport in supporting socio-economic development and regional integration will also be at centre stage at the 2nd African Union (AU) Conference.
This is not the first attempt by Africa's transport ministers to engage on these issues.
In February 2007 the AU Commission, partnered with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, organised the first conference of ministers responsible for maritime transport in Abuja.
South Africa's national spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Logan Maistry, said the AU Commission had since worked with a group of transport experts to revise the African Maritime Transport Charter and convened a Meeting of Experts in October 2008 to review the final draft.
"Maritime transport continues to be one of the most viable ways of facilitating trade between continents, with its role that much more important in Africa since our exports are mainly unprocessed commodities, for example, agricultural and natural produce which are bulky, resulting in approximately 90percent of the total trade of Africa being seaborne," Maistry said.