A common approach is needed among Indian Ocean Rim countries to combat challenges relating to maritime transport safety and security.
Speaking at the 11th Council of Ministers meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said Rim countries should continue to provide impetus to develop such exchanges among member states to improve the situation.
Ebrahim said South Africa was keen to work with India and Australia, as well as the other member states of the IOR-ARC, in their quest to take the association forward, with the view to consolidate and deepen exchanges among member states. “Our Government will work to ensure that South Africa continues to relate to the Indian Ocean Rim as well as traditional and new partners in a manner that best supports our future growth trajectory.
“Our development process requires special policies and measures considering developmental challenges such as unemployment and income disparity both within South Africa and our region,” Ebrahim told the summit. He mentioned that the SADC region had already developed a Maritime Anti-Piracy Strategy that was aligned to the United Nations (UN) Resolutions relating to maritime transport safety and security.
The SADC strategy seeks to promote and support regional and sub-regional coordination and monitoring of activities aimed at improving maritime safety and security in Africa. “We are aware that the various sea routes of the world are the main conduits for our international trade and safety, therefore considerations in this regard are paramount to ensure increased global trade, notably from an African perspective,” said Ebrahim.
He said combating piracy would also mean that countries, especially in Africa, get to grow their market, as most manufacturers no longer use water transport due to high risk. The Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), launched in Mauritius in March 1997, is a grouping of Indian Ocean-rim states, whose aims are to facilitate trade and investment in the region.
Member states include Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, the Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.