A sideline WOMESA event on the occasion of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on 26-28 November, focused on the integration of women in the maritime sector, comprising participants from 10 African countries supported by IMO and conference attendees. The Association of Women Managers in the Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (WOMESA), was launched by IMO in Kenya in 2007.
Speaking at the event, IMO’s Helen Buni, who runs the programme, said that “the time is now for women to ride the wave of Africa’s maritime sector”. She added that “female empowerment is an economic no-brainer” given that empowering women to participate equally in the global economy could add US$28 trillion in GDP growth by 2025.
Ms. Buni highlighted the IMO World Maritime Day theme for 2019 – ‘Empowering women in the maritime sector’, urging participants to embrace this as a unique chance to share ideas and opportunities, create new partnerships and work together to turn the Blue Economy concept into concrete actions. In doing so, it will also help the maritime sector build momentum in helping deliver the UN Sustainability Development Goals, including SDG5 on gender equality.
Ms. Buni also took the opportunity to announce plans to re-establish a network for women in the maritime sector for west and central African countries – to promote female empowerment in the Blue Economy in the region.
Participants in the event came from Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, Somalia, and South Africa.