June 13, 2019
Admiral Mohab Mameesh, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and Head of the Economic Zone, attended the final events of the advanced training program of Nile Basin Countries, held today and organized by Water Resources and Irrigation Ministry. Under the title “Internal Water Navigation: Opportunities and Challenges”, the advanced training program started on 9 June and lasted until 13 June. The ceremonial events were held today at the Maritime Training and Simulation Counter of the Suez Canal Authority in Ismailia.
A number of ambassadors and officials of Nile Basin Countries and COMESA States attended the event. In addition, Major General, Yasser Jalal, Chairman of the River Transport Authority, representatives of COMESA States and African Development Bank and leaders of the Suez Canal Authority were present at today’s events.
During the ceremonial events, Mameesh assured that the strength of the African Continent lies in its unity and in fulfilling the necessary integration between the African countries. Strengthening the transport sector and infrastructure is necessary for future growth and progress. Mameesh added that this training program has been one of the main aspects of the required integration, achieved through the exchange of experiences, building of human cadres and increase of trade exchange between the African countries.
In his speech, Major General Yasser Jalal, Chairman of the Public Authority for the River Transport, expressed his happiness because of the presence of the African brothers in the Suez Canal Authority, symbol of challenge, determination and will. It is the most suitable place for training and exchanging views.
Jalal added that the Suez Canal has gained a leading international role because of its vital location that facilitates the world trade movement. He also expressed his hope that the River Nile as a transport means could acquire a similar leading role to strengthen relations between Nile Basin Countries.
Major General Jalal thanked the African Development Bank for funding the first phase of the project feasibility studies. The studies included the legal and institutional aspects, the identification of training needs and preparation of the Terms of Reference for the second phase.
Additionally, Jalal praised the training program as an ideal example with respect to the organization and management of the navigational passages carried out by pure Egyptian experience. This program is an extension of another one dedicated to building the abilities and skills of the members of the project Steering Committee. It was carried out at the River Transport Regional Institute, in cooperation with the Research Institutes of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
In the same context, Bernard Tazwanda, a representative of COMESA States, thanked Egypt’s Presidency, expressing his feeling of a great sense of pride for being in Egypt. Tazwanda added that Egypt is a major country that possesses the abilities and tools to lead a giant project similar to the construction of a navigational line connecting Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea through the Nile River. Moreover, Bernard Tazwanda assured that Egypt’s experience in the river transport field has been the major influential factor in the success of the project’s first phase.
Additionally, the advanced performance and lectures of the training program strengthened the skills of the human cadres participating in the program. Tazwanda also referred to the necessity of increasing the number of trainees in the coming programs, especially the female ones, to achieve some sort of balance. In addition, the trainees should share the experience they have with their countries after returning home as a means of enhancing the skills and information gained from their training program.
As a representative of Malinne Blomberg, Manager of the African Development Bank in Cairo, Dr. Khaled Al-Askary thanked Admiral Mohab Mameesh for hosting the events and lectures of the training program. He also pointed out the importance of such programs and events in saving the Bank’s time and expenses, for instead of communicating individually with each African country, Such ceremonial events and programs bring Nile Basin Countries together at one time and one place.
Al-Askary added that the project of connecting Lake Victoria with the Mediterranean Sea would help transform African countries into industrialized and exporting nations. Such a development is attainable through facilitating goods transport from the African countries. It would also help provide work opportunities in Africa. Moreover, Al-Askary expressed his happiness concerning the increase in the number of countries participating in similar gatherings. According to him, the rate of participation increased to 25%, compared to a previous rate reaching 20% in 2016. The increase is indicative of people’s awareness of the project’s importance. In addition, Al-Askary noted that the difficult terrain of the African Continent represents an obstacle concerning the fulfillment of the project. Therefore, the participating countries should improve the infrastructure of the continent to facilitate the future scientific, technical and commercial exchange between each other.
Moreover, Al-Askary stated that the African Development Bank allocated $ 650 thousands for the sake of funding the feasibility studies of the first phase of the project. He added that the success of the first phase motivated the Bank to study the possibility of participating in the second phase.
As for the trainees, Beatrice Kiranga, one of the trainees from Kenya, praised the skills and information gained from this program. This training program, as she stated, did create technical human cadres able to lead and carry out the project of linking Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. Kiranga also thanked the trainers who provided the trainees with all possible information for the sake of the successful fulfillment of this giant project. The lectures were also extremely useful and full of information related not only to the internal navigation and narrow channels, but also to the general field of transport and trade movement.
At the end of the events, Mameesh honored the trainees of Nile Basin Countries. He gave them the Suez Canal Shield and certificates of honour. He also invited the attendees to take a cruise in the Suez Canal and to visit the tunnels under the Canal to see the actual achievement on the ground.