Africa’s insignificant share of global maritime trade being tackled

…as Ghana prepares to host industry gathering

Ghana’s maritime industry and its African counterparts are preparing to put in place a deliberate and effective policy framework to address the continent’s insignificant share of global trade in the maritime sector despite Africa’s significant contribution to global maritime traffic.

The stakeholders are expected to converge in the country next month for the 4th Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) Executive Council meeting in Accra.

The impending gathering forms part of strategic step and policy directions of the Association to address the challenges facing Africa’s maritime sector.

Importantly, Africa’s ports account for about 5 percent of global containerized trade volume, much of which comprises imports of manufactured goods. Africa’s shipping and ports do not always match global trends and standards.

The continent’s maritime trade is shaped by trade concentration and limited diversification as its minimal integration in world trade is reflected in the contours of its maritime sector, this is according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In effect, Africa relies heavily on ships and ports to service its intercontinental trade. While it accounts for about 3 percent of global trade by value, the continent contributes higher shares to global seaborne trade, that is, 7 percent and 5 percent of maritime exports and imports by volume, respectively.

As such, while many challenges constrain the continent’s capability in harnessing opportunities in global maritime trade, a number of factors indicate that Africa is a dormant giant as the continent has a robust economic growth, resources, growing investment and financing commitments relating to transport infrastructure, UNCTAD reiterates.

It noted that for Africa to improve its containerized trade and port traffic volumes and emerge as an exporter of containerized goods, there was the need for African countries to diversifying their economies and enabling greater integration into regional and global value chains, insisting that the soon to be implemented African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will not be enough in this regard.


The aim of the Association is to promote the development of Africa’s maritime regulatory framework and encouraging harmonisation for greater competitiveness on a global basis as well as promoting the sharing of best practices among Africa’s Maritime Administrations. This is expected to spearhead the growth of the African maritime industry.