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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Mombasa’s Main Kilindini Port To Handle 23 Million Tonnes In 2014

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s main port of Mombasa is expected to handle 23 million tonnes of cargo in 2014 up from 22.5 million tonnes in 2013, a government official said on Wednesday.

Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli told Xinhua in Nairobi that the growth will come from the increased exports from Kenya ’s mining sectors.

“We are also expecting more traffic from Uganda , Rwanda , South Sudan, as well as eastern Democratic Republic of Congo,” Muli said on the sidelines of the Conference on the Political Economy of Maritime Africa in the Indian Ocean region.

The one day event brought over 100 participants from ten Indian Ocean countries to review ways of increasing trade and security in the region.

He said that the port of Mombasa handles over 90 percent of all Uganda ’s international imports. Muli added that concerted efforts by the international community have reduced the prevalence of piracy on the Indian Ocean .

“The region has gone through a lot of challenges,” he said. He noted that during the peak of piracy, over 400 hostages were held in Somalia in some 47 ships.

“The menace affected the safe passage of cargo and passenger carrying vessels,” he said. The PS said that the vice not only affected localized seaborne traffic, but became a bottleneck to world trade with severe and long lasting damage to the global economy.

“In addition, the region’s small scale and industrial fishing industries were almost brought to a standstill,” he said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said that Kenya is deeply committed to the ongoing process of developing and strengthening economic cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

Kamau emphasized the need for increased intra-trade among the countries on the Indian Ocean .

“What we have witnessed in other regional groupings should teach us the importance of moving as quickly as possible towards tangible commitments in pursuit of economic and trade collaboration,” he said.

The cabinet secretary said that the collaboration should take place within an increasingly open and competitive system of trade and investment.

“The stunning economic success of South East Asia is compelling evidence of the success of open systems,” Kamau said.

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that natural resources, politics and economics are intertwined.  He said that the significance of oil in the economic development of the world over cannot be under estimated.

“The recent explorations and discoveries of oil and gas in the eastern Africa region, offers great potential for partnerships,” he said.

“I am therefore, urging member states of the Indian Ocean Rim to take advantage of the opportunities available and cooperate in establishing ways of exploring such resources,” Balala said.

“We must be fully proactive in combating the blight of piracy by ensuring that as much involvement as possible is undertaken on the ground,” he said. The cabinet secretary called for maximum support to be given to the newly established governance structures in Somalia .

Australia ’s High Commissioner to Kenya Geoffrey Tooth said that Australia ’s future lies in the indo-pacific region.

Tooth, who is also the Chairman Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), said that the region’s stability is therefore important globally.

“Unfortunately, when the association is compared to other regional bodies, it has only delivered modest outcomes,” he said.

The Australian government has so far contributed approximately 1.2 million U.S. dollars for projects aimed at promoting the IORA.

Indian Ocean Rim Association Secretary General Kocheril Bhagirath said that the region has abundant agricultural wealth coupled with significant human resources and technological capabilities.

“Many of the countries of the Indian Ocean Rim are increasingly becoming globally competitive,” he said.

“The ongoing development of new capacities among member states should be jointly harnessed through regional cooperation,” he said.

The Indian Ocean Research Group Chairman Professor Dennis Rumley said that the Indian Ocean rim is home to roughly two billion people who live in some of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies.

“It is also a massive market rich in strategic and precious minerals and metals,” he said.

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