Africa has unexploited potential on three maritime facades, including the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea.
Rabat – Morocco’s Department of Economic Studies and Financial Forecast (DEPF) reported that maritime transport in Africa has developed to the point where it can support the transformation and restructuring of the African economy.
DEPF, an affiliate of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, released the information in a September publication titled “Maritime Transport of Goods in the Atlantic Facade of Africa.”
The report emphasizes the role that maritime transport could play in connecting Africa to the world by integrating it into global value chains.
While maritime transport represents 80% of trade around the world, the African continent only contributes 5.7% to global maritime traffic.
DEPF considers Africa’s share in maritime transport disproportionate to the continent’s coastline. Africa’s shores include three maritime facades — the Atlantic, Indian, and Mediterranean — connecting 38 countries, more than 70% of African states.
The study offered an overview of maritime transport on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, from Morocco to Nigeria (FAAMAN). The research came to explore the flaws in the continent’s maritime transport and propose improvements.
DEPF split FAAMAN in three groups. One is Morocco and Nigeria, which stands out in terms of maritime traffic on Africa’s Atlantic facade. The two countries contributed a total of 64% of regional traffic between 2011 and 2016.
In 2018, a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) listed Morocco as the top African country with maritime connections. The report on the continent’s top five countries did not include Nigeria.
The second group contributed 29% of West African traffic between 2011 and 2015. It includes Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Togo and Benin.
The third group includes Liberia, Guinea, Mauritania, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau, with a total contribution of 7% between 2011 and 2015.
The study also offered a few possible solutions, calling to reinforce port and maritime cooperation, in part through the digitization of ports to enhance the quality of their work. It would also involve advancing efficient traffic management through the establishment of port clusters to boost competition.
The publication also suggested a mutual charter through which countries can share ships to decrease the cost of maritime traffic, in addition to multimodal connectivity for ports to play a role in the development of national and regional economies.
As an African leader in maritime connectivity, Morocco shows a clear example of the benefits of opening to investment. Tangier Med Port 2 complex handled more than 4.8 million containers in 2019, marking an increase of 38% compared to last year.
The port attributes the growth to 10 new operators that launched activity in the Tanger Med port logistics zone in 2019, including international players such as DHL, NIPPON EXPRESS, and KASAI.