Delegates during International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference on law carbon shipping in Africa. [Mactilda Mbenywe, Standard]

The shipping industry is crucial to Africa's economic development and international trade, but it also emits 2.2 per cent of global carbon emissions.

Therefore, maritime decarbonization is an urgent global challenge that requires innovative and sustainable technologies to reduce emissions while maintaining sector efficiency and competitiveness.

In her opening remarks at the sixth conference of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) conference on law carbon shipping in Africa, Nancy Karigithu, Special Envoy on blue economy suggested the use of alternative fuels, hydrogen fuel cell technologies, single window systems, and digital platforms to increase efficiencies and reduce emissions.

While addressing 349 delegates from 47 countries in Africa she said: "The transition of low carbon shipping in Africa will require the deployment of innovative and sustainable technologies that can reduce emissions while maintaining the sector's efficiency and competitiveness."

Karigithu said African countries have demonstrated leadership in compliance with the Paris Agreement. However, there are still gaps and barriers in legal and institutional frameworks that limit climate-related policy implementation.

Low-Carbon Shipping in Africa conference in Mombasa is focussing on the theme of 'Overcoming challenges by unlocking opportunities and investments'. [Mactilda Mbenywe, Standard]

She emphasized that shipping emissions are a significant challenge, and maritime decarbonization is an urgent global challenge. Developing countries face challenges accessing finance and technology transfer to support low-carbon technologies.

The envoy, however, said Africa has abundant resources such as hydrogen, thermal, wind, and solar power potential.

"To take advantage of these opportunities, there is a need for policy interventions and promotion of green port infrastructure. The transition to low-carbon shipping in Africa must be inclusive, equitable, and aligned with broader development goals such as poverty eradication, job creation, and economic growth.

Shadrack Mwadime, PS Department for Shipping and Maritime, while addressing the state of maritime decolonization in Kenya and adaptation of clean energy in the industry, said despite achieving minimal levels of carbon emission in Kenya's shipping industry, the country faces many challenges.

"We face challenges with ships operating(plying) in our waters. We must address this issue, particularly with regard to our fishing practices. Therefore, we are formulating robust policies and regulations to control carbon emissions by major private players on our waters," Mwadime said.