“Central Africa will be more active and visible”
Mister Secretary General, what is the rationale of your visit in Kribi?
It should be noted that the Port Authority of Kribi is an active member of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa. When I was commissioned on 2 September 2019, I deemed it necessary for me to visit Kribi. My trip started with the Port of Douala, then Kribi and finally the National Port Authority (APN) in Yaoundé. It is a courtesy visit, and also an opportunity to work with all the association members that are in Cameroon so as to see how we can work hand in glove to gain visibility in the sub-region and develop our commercial activities as we are now in an era of globalization.
In practical terms, what is PMACAW input in port development?
You agree with me that today, ports are in cities which are globally under the threat of coastal erosion. So, for instance, we are doing a lot in fighting coastal erosion. We equally work on issues such as maritime services, facilitating goods passage, reducing human action and making traffic smoother because when the handling rates are good, our revenue increases.
Some people are of the opinion that Central Africa is a mere observer in PMACAW. How would you respond to that?
I would say that such opinion is justified. That is even one of the reasons I came to Cameroon. There is a need to show the world that Central Africa has a significant role in the association. Central Africa is a founding member of the association and there is no reason why it should not be seen. Central Africa is and will always be there. From now on, it will be more active and visible. Communication may have been the missing link. There is a need to communicate more on the activities of Central Africa and its place within the association.
We also must admit that very often in associations, positioning is the most interesting factor, the positions or responsibilities of members. Till date, some countries were more interested than others. But today, Central Africa has made a clear statement and I am confident that it will assume its position very fast.
In addition, we observe that African ports are becoming more phagocytic than collaborative. Is it not possible to develop a policy of complementarity between these infrastructures?
It should be obvious. In fact, we are still in need of many tools. The ports of Africa are becoming phagocytic because the same infrastructures are being created everywhere and we do not have a maritime fleet. If we had fleets, there would never be an issue of creating hubs everywhere. We would create a hub somewhere and then simply invest in cabotage systems to transport from one port to another and distribute the expenses and profits. As a matter of fact, we are thinking about all these schemes, how to benefit from our exchanges and collaboration. PMACAW, which is at the centre of all this information, is pondering all these issues and in my humble opinion, we will find the right solution.