Mr Ebrima Sillah, the new Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University (RMU), has commended the government for its efforts and continuous commitment to infrastructure development of the University.
He said the Administration and Library complex, and auditorium complex projects sponsored by the Ghanaian government were at various stages of completion.
Mr Sillah, who is the Minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, Republic of the Gambia, gave the commendation at the 27th Board of Governors Meeting held in Accra, where he was introduced as the new Chancellor and Chairman of the Board.
The annual meeting is held to discuss the challenges, problems, and solutions to help transform the University into a world class institution.
The Gambia took over the Chairmanship of the Board of Governors and Chancellor of RMU from the Republic of Cameroon.
This move is in line with the provisions of Article 9 (v) (a) and (b) of the RMU institutional document which speak about the duration for the Chairmanship and rotational issues among member countries.
He said it was an undeniable fact that infrastructure contributed significantly to the development of any institution of which RMU was not an exception.
The Chancellor called on Ghana to release funds on time for the projects to be completed to boost the image of the University.
He said the Gambia had set a standard worth emulating by sponsoring the Gambia Hostel facility to accommodate students.
Mr Sillah, therefore, appealed to other member countries to make efforts to undertake similar projects for the University.
The Chairman of the Board expressed his appreciation for the position and further pledged his unflinching support to the cause of growth and development of the University.
Mr Jean Ernest Massena Ngali Bibehe, the Outgoing Chancellor, said during his tenure the new courses had been successfully enrolled in the school’s academic calendar.
He said Member states’ contributions were a challenge while others were able to make full contributions of their commitment.
Mr Bibehe urged all Member Countries to make payment of their contributions on time and as a priority as it constituted a major part of the University’s income.
Mr Hassan Tampuli, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ghana speaking on behalf of Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, the Chairman of Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA), said one of the cardinal objectives was to strengthen the Regional Academy of Maritime Science and Technology in Abidjan and the Regional Maritime University in Accra.
It is to provide training at all levels of the maritime, fishing and in the petroleum industry, including exchange of teaching personnel, and provision of facilities for sea-training for cadets.
He said the MOWCA would ensure the realisation of this important objective by harnessing the needed resources required by these institutions to assist them to deliver on their respective mandates.
“All over the world, the establishment of a sustainable maritime transportation sector by nations has become very essential to the development and growth of the Blue Economy,” he said.
Mr Asiamah said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for shipping services over time had seen a steady rise.
“Today, international trade has evolved to the point where almost no nation could be fully self-sufficient,” he added.
He said the Government of Ghana was seeking the support of the Exim Bank of Korea to modernize the RMU at an estimated project cost of about USD146 million.
“Among the scope of works of this project is the provision of a new special purpose training ship for the University designed with the concept of training and trading,” he added.
Mr Asiamah, who is also the Minister of Transport, said it would serve as a classroom, a laboratory, a simulator and provide an environment that gave Seafarers the physical and behavioural realism that simulators attempt to present virtually.
He said the training ship would enable the University to produce students who were market-ready to leverage on the African Continental Free Trade, in the areas of sea transport.
Dr. Paul Adalikwu, Secretary General, MOWCA, said RMU was one of the specialized organs of MOWCA, that was tasked with the responsibility of raising regional maritime professional and manpower and experts that were not only expected to man regional vessels but get employed into the global maritime domain.
He, therefore, implored Member States to make their contributions regularly when due as it could improve the training and certification of students to ensure they were able to favourably compete and get placements in foreign going vessels.