Bala Usman: Nigeria’s Ports Positioned to Be Africa’s Hub

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman in this interview said the NPA is hosting the International Association of Ports and Harbours World Port Conference because it will provide the opportunity to market the port industry in Nigeria.

What is the international Association of Ports and Harbours ((IAPH))?
The IAPH was formed in 1955 and over the last 60 years it has grown into a global alliance representing 180 members ports and 140 port related businesses in 90 countries. The IAPH was established to promote interest of ports worldwide, build strong member relationship and share international best practices

How did Nigeria achieve hosting right for the conference?
Nigeria was awarded the hosting right because of my election last year as Vice President representing Africa on the IAPH Governing Board. This is a testament of the recognition of Nigeria’s effort in building a virile maritime industry locally and cooperating with other nations to do same Nigeria, being a frontline maritime nation has been at the forefront of promoting collaboration between ports all over the continent of Africa. The country plays host to the headquarters of Port Management of West and Central Africa (PMWACA) and have over the years hosted technical committee meetings of the association and the women network of same association. Also, by the volume of trade of the nation being handled by six major port locations and the on-coming development of two major deep-sea ports, Nigeria has done well in building port infrastructure that has positioned it to be the hub for west and central Africa.

Of what benefit is it to Nigeria to host an international conference of this magnitude?
The conference is bringing together ports from all over Africa and other international organisations to look at the challenge of hinterland connectivity in the continent. This will be of immense interest to Nigeria, as it is an issue we are grappling with and at the moment we command the largest economy in Africa. The conference is also going to attract major investors in the maritime industry from all over the world and with the attendance of our major partners, terminal operators and JV companies, the potentials of the port industry in Nigeria will be marketed. This will in turn engender an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve the patronage of our ports.

It is an international event, where do we expect to see participants come from
We are going to see participants from key organisations like World Trade Organisation, International Maritime Organisation, UNCTAD, Various African trade corridors including the Lagos Abidjan Trade corridor and the Walvis Bay corridor group. We also have international ports like the Antwerp Port Authority, Guangzhou Port Authority, Port of Miami Florida and African Ports such as Transnet National Port Authority (South Africa ), Kenya port Authority, Douala Port Authority Cameroon , Cotonou Port Authority Benin and Abidjan Port Authority Coted’ Ivoire. Others are Dakar Port Authority Senegal,Tanger Med Port Morocco and, Damietta Port Egypt. To say the least, we have ports coming from all over Africa. It promises to be an event that will lift the face of maritime trade in Africa and specifically expose the potentials of the Nigerian maritime industry to investors.

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