The port officials, half of whom are women, had successfully defended dissertations and thus completed training that included 240 hours of classwork, a series of examinations, and the writing and review of dissertations.
The graduation ceremony took place on 30 January.
It marked the fourth cycle of training under the Programme in Gabon. OPRAG was one of the sites of the pilot phase of UNCTAD's Port Management Programme, which began in 1998. From then through 2002, three cycles of training were completed and 48 middle managers from the port community there were certified. In addition, over 40 senior managers at OPRAG were trained as national trainers.
By 2002, Gabon's port community believed it had trained a critical mass of managers and decided not to renew the training program. But in 2010, following significant reforms in the port sector, special emphasis was placed on developing and strengthening their human resources and Gabon rejoined the programme. A fifth cycle of training will begin next month.
UNCTAD's Port Training Programme supports port communities in developing countries in their efforts to provide efficient and competitive port management services to increase trade flows and foster economic development. UNCTAD research has shown that greater efficiency can be achieved if middle managers are trained in modern port methods.
Maritime transport is responsible for over two-thirds of global trade. For example, 90 per cent of Gabon's trade travels by sea. By helping improve port efficiency in developing countries, UNCTAD assists them in strengthening their participation in the global economy.
Since its inception, the Port Management Programme has trained over 1200 officials in 20 countries. It is now carried out in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The writing of the dissertation provides participants with the opportunity to apply the newly acquired skills. They are required to identify a specific problem or challenge for the port community, related to, for example, management, organization, environment, or security, analyze it in the context of the organization's activities, and come up with realistic proposals for improvement. During the dissertation preparation process they are assisted by a senior manager, who acts as a mentor.
The closing ceremony for the recent graduates was chaired by OPRAG's General Manager, Rigobert Ikambouayat-Ndeka, and the Director of Gabon's Merchant Marine, Clotilde Ngningone Nguema.
Graduates of UNCTAD's Modern Port Management Programme at the Office des Ports et Rades du Gabon (OPRAG)