On Thursday the 8th of July, the Annual Business Luncheon of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA, Nigeria), the program showcases the women in various parts of Nigeria to develop and empower women across Nigeria.
The Event graces dignitaries like Dr. Magdalene Ajani who represented the Minister of Transportation Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi, with the theme “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): Investment Opportunities for Women in Trade is currently being hosted at the Ballroom, Oriental Hotel Lekki, Victoria Island Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the minister Dr. Ajani emphasized the commitment of WISTA to “helping reposition the maritime industry and the trade sector for improved productivity and speedy recovery from the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The minister also said:
“As you may be aware, shipping is recognized as a strong catalyst for socio-economic development. It involves the art of transporting goods, often termed cargo, from one point to another on water. Shipping business can be said to be one of the oldest businesses in the world and plays a pivotal role in the consolidation of global markets and serves as the most efficient means of moving large volumes of import and export round the world. It creates jobs and adds a lot of values to the growth of any national economy.”
He also talked about the importance of shipping in fostering good relations with industrialized nations and other members of the U.N.
“Furthermore, shipping has acted as a cardinal force to correct trade imbalances with the industrialized nations of the world. Nigeria’s membership of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) ushered her into a myriad of bilateral and multilateral maritime agreements that have aided the sector in the movement of cargo in and out of the Nigerian shores.”
“Dear Noble Women, you will all agree with me that Maritime transport is the backbone of global trade and the global economy. Its collaboration with a Multilateral Agreement like AfCFTA is expected to cause a chain reaction that would promote a single industry of Maritime trade between African Countries.”
In the closing parts of his speech, The Minister acknowledged the memorandum between WISTA and International Maritime Organization. He said:
“Dear noble women, I am aware that WISTA International signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on technical cooperation which is designed to support IMO’s Strategic Plan 2018-2023 in the promotion of gender parity and women empowerment. This is a step in the right direction. In the same vein, the launch of the WISTA Magazine indicates that we are on the same course to increase the knowledge base of maritime operators particularly women shippers. Finally, I implore us all to continue to take advantage of this platform to collaborate with the Ministry with a view to repositioning the maritime industry for better performance and improved productivity in line with global best practices. Thank you and God bless.”
The Permanent Secretary Dr. Mgdalene Ajani, in her own speech, encouraged the women to be more involved in Maritime affairs and society in general.
“It is common knowledge that the maritime industry has historically been a male-dominated career. The explanation is quite obvious; in the past and even now, maritime jobs onboard vessels and in the port environment required physical strength. Therefore, society prohibited women from participating in the industry, especially at the operational level. According to the International Maritime Organization, women represent only two percent of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers. Women are also poorly represented in other areas of the maritime industry including port management, ship management/ownership, marine engineering, among others.”
“I am therefore delighted to identify with WISTA, one of the leading voices in the global conversation for the empowerment of women in the maritime industry and beyond. I must commend WISTA for consummating a Memorandum of Understanding with IMO designed to promote gender diversity and inclusion as vital factors in providing a sustainable future for the shipping industry globally. It is instructive to note that this initiative is in tandem with the current Administration’s noble objective of fostering gender equality in all facets of the Nigerian economy. The full and equal participation of women in civil, cultural, economic, political, and social life, at the national, regional, and international levels remains a priority objective of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.” She said.