SPEECH BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE REGIONAL MARITIME UNIVERSITY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OFTRANSPORT
AND AVIATION, REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE
MR. LEONARD BALOGUN KOROMA DURING
THE 14TH BAORD OF GOVERNORS MEETING
FRIDAY, 6TH JUNE, 2014
Honourable Host Minister and Colleague Board Members
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corp
Honourable Secretary General of MOWCA
Distinguished Members of the Committee of Experts
The Rector and Members of Staff of the RMU
Students and Staff Representative of the RMU
Distinguished Invited Guests and Members of the fourth Estate
Ladies and Gentlemen
I convey fraternal greetings from His Excellency, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, and the Government and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone to His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama, and the Government and people of Ghana through my Colleague host Minister, Honourable Mrs. Dzifa Attivor. Let me also extend warm greetings to my colleague Board Members and to all who have gathered here today at the opening ceremony of the 14th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Regional Maritime University. Permit me to thank our host for the warm reception and hospitality accorded us since our arrival her. Thank you.
Honourable Members of the Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great honour and privilege to the President and the people of Sierra Leone, to be called upon to Chair this esteemed coalition of African States, in the pursuit of the common goal of attaining excellence in the training and equipping of men and women to muster the Maritime Industry in the sub-region to match the efforts of our counterparts in the Maritime Industry worldwide.
Your Excellencies, the Chairmanship of the Regional Maritime University Board is unique given its history and legacy. It provides the opportunity for broader reflection as well as widening of perspectives of the Maritime Industry by which to enhance the growth and divestiture of the sector nationally and Regionally. It is a positive challenge.
Honourable colleague Members, Sierra Leone is committed to this body and treats it with equal respect as any other such entity, because we see it as a means to promoting integration, fraternity and collective development and growth in the Maritime Industry. To this end, as promised when Sierra Leone assumed the Chair in the Republic of Cameroon about six months ago, I will continue the good work already in motion and work with you, the Management and Staff to attain the best for the institution.
Honourable Members of the Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Regional Maritime University as an educational Institution has progressed successfully through the years since its inception as a national institution in 1958 to provide Technical and Professional Maritime training to Ghanaians to its eventual regionalisation in 1983. The Member countries all have benefited significantly since then. We have seen the quality of training enhanced through the introduction of new equipment to facilities and the corresponding increase in staff and student numbers.
Your Excellencies, the Regional Maritime University, in its evolvement as an educational establishment has progressed rapidly with many success stories over the years. Recent among these are the establishment of the Graduate School to offer graduate studies in Maritime programmes, and the collaboration agreement with TECHNIP for the issuance of lecture and conference series and the establishment of a business incubator centre at the RMU.
There has also been collaboration with Tullow Oil and MODEC for the establishment of a Welding training and Certification Centre to serve the Oil and Gas industries, as well as the accreditation of the RMU by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) for the introduction of programmes at the RMU. The RMU has also signed an agreement with Shanghai Maritime University which allows level 300 logistics students to spend a year in Shanghai before returning to the RMU for the final year of their program, and this program is proving very popular. Let me, at this juncture on behalf of the Board and my own personal behalf, welcome the President of Shanghai Maritime University and his delegation to the RMU and this Board meeting. You are welcome.
The University has also invested much resource in the training of Academic Staff at world renowned establishments to enhance the academic strength of the RMU.
Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of the Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, on infrastructure, the University has benefited from funding provided by Member States. These include the Gambia Hostel Project, funded by the Republic of The Gambia, the Laboratory Complex, Administration and Library Complex and an Engine Room Sub-sea engineering Simulator and ancillary laboratory equipments funded by the Government of Ghana. The institution has also benefited from the donation of computers from the Government of the Republic of Cameroon. We appreciate that and encourage such kind gestures.
It is quite clear, your excellencies that the RMU has received much support for the training and equipping of men and women in the sub-region with highly competitive world-class standard education in the Maritime industry, making them capable of running shoulder to shoulder with our western trained counterparts and bridge the gap between Africa and the West in the industry.
Notwithstanding, Your Excellencies, the RMU has encountered many shortfalls and disadvantages such as high staff turnover and competition from other institutions offering Maritime courses. We are also aware of the growing problem of Piracy on the seas in the sub region which impinge on the Industry. That is why we as a Board are pleased with ongoing anti-piracy efforts and initiatives globally, but more especially with the 3-year European Union GRIMGO anti-piracy initiative in the Gulf of Guinea, which is being hosted here at the RMU. The Board appreciates this collaboration.
There is a further challenge of the growing Oil and Gas sector with its demand for programmes and courses providing training on harnessing the benefits whiles alleviating the social, political and economical problems associated with the oil and Gas industry.
Such Challenges, which are but a few among many, justify the need for the continuous development of the RMU and the essence of our gathering here today as a Board to assess and ensure the furtherance of the Vision and aspirations of the founders of this institution.
Your Excellencies, Honourable Members of the Board, Ladies and Gentlemen, we gather here not in ceremony but in a genuine quest to ensure the guaranteed future of the Regional Maritime University as a relevant component of the Maritime Industry in the sub-region.
God bless the Regional Maritime University, God bless you all.