10 Jun 11 - Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNCTAD and the Union of African Shippers Councils
UNCTAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Union of African Shippers' Council (UASC). The MoU is aimed at strengthening the framework of cooperation between the UASC and UNCTAD over the next three years through consultations and regular exchange of views.
UNCTAD will cooperate with the UASC under the new MoU through technical assistance, capacity-building, training, and research and analysis on subject matters of specific interest to UASC members. UNCTAD staff and representatives discussed areas for potential collaboration with the UASC during a meeting held on 8 June 2011.
Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD signs MoU with the Union of African Shippers' Council (UASC)
Both parties expressed interest in:
- The UASC becoming more involved in UNCTAD's Port Training Programme, either by providing financing and training facilities, as the case in several countries, and/or by participating directly in the training.
The latter will build the capacity of UASC members to better understand best practices with regard to port functioning and the management and development of ports, and enable them to better serve their clients.
- UNCTAD continuing to support West African countries in their negotiations of trade facilitation issues at the WTO. Shippers Councils have already in the past participated in national and regional workshops organised and facilitated by UNCTAD in the West African region.
UNCTAD and the UASC will identify issues of common interest which may merit further seminars or round tables.
- UNCTAD and the UASC working together to develop specific project proposals for external financing. These could be in areas such as transport corridor developments or institutional strengthening of the national Shippers Councils themselves (for example, capacity building to enable the delivery a variety of tailored services, such as legal advice, to their clients).
In particular, in UNCTAD's endeavours to support landlocked countries, there is a common interest in working with the UASC to facilitate transit trade and its transport. UNCTAD and the UASC will also increase their exchanges of statistical information.
[From left] Anne Miroux, Director, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD; Emile Ngoyi, Director-General, OGEFREM, Democratic Republic of Congo; Petko Draganov, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD; and Serigne Thiam Diop, Secretary-General, UASC
Building upon UNCTAD recommendations to protect shippers' interests in developing countries in the 1960s and 1970s, National Shippers' Councils were set up in various parts of the world. The Union of African Shippers' Council was established in January 1977 by the Maritime Organisation of West and Central African States. It is headquartered in Cameroon and currently has 16 members: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Togo, Guinea Conakry and Equatorial Guinea. South Africa and Kenya are set to join.
The UASC is mandated to provide assistance to African shippers and protect their interests throughout the transport chain. Its duties include, for example, strengthening the mechanisms for consultation and negotiation with maritime conferences and shipping lines whose ships service West and Central African ports; reducing the effects of transportation costs on member countries; streamlining traffic and optimising shipping services; establishing and maintaining relationships with transport associations, ports, shippers councils of other countries and international organisations and institutions; and reducing administrative red-tape in international maritime traffic.
For further information, please contact Jan Hoffmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nishta Jogoo, email@example.com, Trade Logistics Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD.