President William Ruto has intensified campaigns for the election of Ms Nancy Karigithu as the Secretary General of the influential International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Karigithu's bid to succeed the outgoing IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, whose tenure ends this year, was also backed by the former Jubilee regime and endorsed by the then President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The African Union has also endorsed Dr Karigithu, Kenya's Ambassador and Special Envoy for Shipping and Blue Economy, candidacy. But Ruto has launched a fresh campaign to solidify Karigithu's support in the continent.
On Friday, Cabinet Secretary for Shipping, Maritime and Mining, Salim Mvurya took the campaign to the regional maritime body, the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS) meeting in Zambia.
The CS sought to assure ISCOS members, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, that Ruto's administration still backed Dr Karigithu's candidacy.
ISCOS is the body mandated to promote, protect and coordinate the shipping and Maritime interests of the five countries in the region at large.
"Ambassador Karigithu has been a key figure at IMO and the African maritime sector championing for not only Kenya but Africa's Blue Economy agenda as a whole," Mvurya said.
CS Mvurya added that a win for Kenya would definitely be a win for Africa. Dr Karigithu is the only female and Africa's candidate for the position whose elections are due in June, this year.
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"Kenya, therefore, wishes to humbly request your support to deliver this important seat to reinforce Africa's position in the global Maritime and shipping sector," Mvurya said.
He explained further that Kenya as a country immensely thanks the African Union (AU).for the timely endorsement and support of Ambassador Karigithu as Africa's candidate.
Ministers who attended the ISCOS meeting include the Minister of Works and Transport, Republic of Uganda, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala and the Minister of Transport and Logistics, Republic of Zambia, Frank Museba Tayali.
Others were the Minister of Transport and Communication, United Republic of Tanzania, Prof. Makame Mayaa Mbarawa and Minister of Transport, Communication & Opening Up, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr Cherubin Okende Senga as well as Minister of Trade, Transport & Tourism, Republic of Burundi, Marie Chantal Nijimbere.
Mvurya said that the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean States share various aspects in the Maritime sector stretching from the Indian Ocean as their Maritime passage for their International Trade, the Eastern coast of the Indian Ocean which connects them via sea, to the seaports and even service providers such as Maritime carriers.
"The shipping industry is dynamic and due to these shared facilities, bodies, services, service providers, aspirations and indeed challenges, there ought to be a framework for collaboration amongst stakeholders," he said.
He emphasised that such a framework would provide opportunities for regular deliberations and harmonization of issues in the region.
"As maritime stakeholders, we must therefore work together to mitigate the negative effects of these challenges because if not collectively addressed, they would have a boomerang negative effect on the wider industry," Mvurya said.
He commended ISCOS for stepping up its role as a Regional Maritime body and bringing us together for the Maritime cause, a cause which affects all.
Mvurya pointed out that the formation of ISCOS by States in the region was out of the realization and the need to have coordinated approaches on matters of Shipping and Maritime Transport.
"It is therefore critical that we support the drive by ISCOS to develop a regional maritime transport policy which will guide and provide a baseline on the realization of regional objectives for the sector," added Mvurya.
Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, Mr Shadrack Mwadime said Kenya reiterates its full commitment to the objectives of ISCOS and commits to fully honour our obligations as the host country.
"Kenya fully supports the growth and expansion of ISCOS membership and wishes to thank the Secretariat for the work done towards meeting this objective as was instructed by the Assembly of Ministers held last year in Entebbe in March 2022 that has seen the DRC become a part of ISCOS," Mwadime said.
PS Mwadime urged ISCOS to continue running programs that relate to the emerging issues and coordinate the mutual interest of the Member States and maritime stakeholders and identify the challenges and opportunities in order to jointly develop sustainable solutions.
He said that it is upon member states to forge ahead from a united front through ISCOS for effective implementation of regional initiatives and approaches for the Blue Economy agenda.