Blue Economy - Panama and South Africa
24 July 2014
A signing ceremony on the Agreement on Maritime Cooperation took place between Panama and South Africa at the South African Maritime Safety Authority in Pretoria. Present at the signing ceremony were Mr. Jorge Barakat, Administrator of Panama Maritime Authority representing Panama and Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport representing South Africa. Also present was Ambassador Rodrigo Chiari of Panama in South Africa and officials of the South African Department of Transport.
Mr Aziz Pahad, during his first official visit to Panama in 2007 as Deputy Minister of then Foreign Affairs of South Africa, raised the need to negotiate agreements and treaties between the two countries to improve their diplomatic relations. This signing is a culmination of negotiations between the authorities since then.
In his speech Minister Barakat said, "This agreement has important and relevant issues for both parties such as seafaring training, advice of Ports Development and Management, and those concerning Merchant Marine safety and security. Being aware of South Africa’s initiative of Blue Economy, which is handled in South Africa by the Department of Transport that you lead Mme Minister Peters, Panama commits to assist through our Maritime Authority with our knowhow and expertise in order to secure success for the said African Venture. The sea has been part of the Panamanian history and economy since its discovery in 1501 and we have moved forward being able to administrate the most important seaway, the Panama Canal, in benefit of the world. We also are a leader in shipping registry. Panama is a member and complies with all provisions and regulations, of the International Maritime Organization and in that capacity makes sure that all its vessels safely navigate on international waters delivering to ports all over the world cargo and passengers and respecting at all times sea life and making sure it is conserved and protected."
Minister Barakat concluded that the signing of this Agreement is a big step towards mutual cooperation and will open doors for trade and job opportunities.