The Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa (MTCC Africa) is set to host the inaugural virtual Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition (ConfEx), scheduled to run between 17th to 18th March, and 24th and 25th March, 2021.
MTCC Africa is hosted at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Mombasa Campus, and is an initiative by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and European Union Commission, forming part of the Global MTCCs Network (GMN), with other centres in Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific regions.
The center’s principal focus is to promote the uptake of low carbon technologies and energy efficient practices in the maritime and shipping industry, through technical co-operation, capacity building and technology transfer.
The Conference will offer a platform for innovative participation from technology providers across the African region and the world, setting the pace towards technology-driven solutions to climate change within the shipping industry.
The upcoming ConfEx, originally scheduled for June last year in Durban, South Africa, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across the continent. Still gripped by the pandemic amidst emerging new variants and surging infections, African countries are forging ahead with its maritime sector plan of action towards climate change mitigation, albeit virtually.
The ConfEx is open to both private and public stakeholders in the maritime and shipping industry, and will be staged within the context of the IMO MARPOL Annex VI. MARPOL is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and is concerned with preventing marine pollution from ships.
Specifically, Annex VI of MARPOL addresses air pollution from ocean-going ships, and advances the implementation of global regulations to address the emission of air pollutants from ships and the mandatory energy efficiency measures aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases from international shipping. Kenya, an IMO Member State and signatory to the MARPOL Annex VI, has ratified several conventions as a sustained effort towards regulating the ship source pollution.
According to the Principal Secretary (PS) for Maritime and Shipping Affairs, Dr. Nancy Karigithu, MTCC Africa together with its consortium members comprising JKUAT, the Kenya State Department of Maritime and Shipping Affairs, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), have made significant strides in not only ensuring the regulation of pollution in the shipping industry, but also in leading the regional effort in implementing the same.
“The Government of Kenya is committed to the protection of the marine environment and promotion of good use of marine resources as a key pillar for sustainable development. This ConfEx will be a good opportunity for African countries and maritime stakeholders around the world to share their maritime experiences, lessons learned so far, and how together we can forge ahead with a cohesive action plan to sustainably address climate change in the shipping industry,” said Dr. Karigithu.
The PS spoke in February during a meeting with the JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, and the MTCC Africa Project Lead, Ms. Lydia Ngugi, to deliberate on the MTCC Africa progress and the upcoming ConfEx. On her part, the Vice Chancellor emphasized that the role of institutions of higher learning in fighting climate change in the maritime sector and beyond cannot be gainsaid.
“As a University of Research and Innovation, we remain steadfast in our commitment to capacity development, technology transfer, and any other contribution that will optimize the sustainable exploitation of the blue economy,” she opined.
Ms. Lydia Ngugi said, the ConfEx will also seek to address the technological challenges and opportunities in climate action within the international maritime sector.
“Decarbonization is a key priority as we continue to make sustained efforts towards shipping best practices across the continent. This is why we’re targeting entrepreneurs with innovations focusing on climate change mitigation in the onshore and offshore shipping industry, to add impetus to this fight,” said Ms. Ngugi.
Those expected to grace the MTCC Africa ConfEx include, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, World Maritime University President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia, PS for Maritime and Shipping Affairs, Dr. Karigithu, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ngumi, the Director, International Maritime Law Institute (IMO-IMLI), Prof. David Attard, among others.