Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA)

The MOWCA partners and especially AMSSA would like to send a great thanks to the long standing dynamic and honourable Secretary-General . .

Prof. Magnus Teye ADDICO Republic of Ghana

. . . for his incredible advances and dedicated service for the MOWCA member states and regions. Prof ADDICO who has now stepped down due to ill health will be greatly missed by all.

The new Secretary General is based in ANGOLA more information soon. .

MOWCA (2008) mission statement

`The over-riding role of MOWCA is to ensure for the sub-region a cost-effective shipping service high on safety and low on pollution

Background: The Maritime Organisation for the West and Central Africa (MOWCA) was established in May 1975 (Charter of Abidjan) as the Ministerial Conference of West and Central African States on Maritime Transport (MINCONMAR). The name was changed to MOWCA as part of reforms adopted by the General Assembly of Ministers of Transport, at an extraordinary session of the Organisation held in Abidjan the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire from 4-6 August 1999.

jective of MOWCA is to serve the regional and international community for handling all maritime matters that are regional in character.

MOWCA unifies 25 countries on the West and Central African shipping range (inclusive of five landlocked countries). These countries comprise of 20 coastal states bordering the North and South Atlantic Ocean, and to explain the maritime link for landlocked countries the ports of the Ocean interfacing countries provide the seaborne trade of those that are landlocked.

What is of special interest for MOWCA is that together the countries within the remit of the organisation in 1998 generated an estimated 247million tonnes of cargo which represented 4.8% of world cargo, 95% of which was seaborne. MOWCA has also identified a number of problems at the sub regional level relating to the cost-effectiveness of shipping services these are; availability of shipping space, frequency of sailings, level of freight rates, competitiveness and survival of national/regional operators, efficiency of seaports, safety of cargo/ships, inland transportation networks, availability of coastal shipping services, efficiency of multi-modal transport systems and trade facilitation, protection of shippers interests, and the special case of landlocked countries.

The focus of MOWCA policy is on the following:

  1. Encouraging participation of the private sector in West/Central Africa in ship operation particularly in coastal shipping, by way of ownership/chartering of tonnage and forging co-operation/partnerships between regional operators and foreign shipping companies operating to the sub-region
  2. Development of coastal shipping networks and establishment of feeder systems to connect hub and spoke ports - Establishment of an effective multimodal transport system for the sub-region
  3. Port development and facilitation with particular reference to achieving a cost effective / faster ship turnaround times and creating special berths and conditions for landlocked countries, coastal /feeder shipping in MOWCA ports
  4. Strengthening of service-oriented shippers' councils to effectively protect and represent the users or the demand side of the shipping industry
  5. Strengthening of the regional maritime academies of Abidjan, Accra and the Nigerian Academy of Oron to provide training at all levels of the maritime, fishing and petroleum industry, including exchange of teaching personnel, provision of facilities for sea-training for cadets
    Establishment of national transport observatories to be co-ordinated by a regional observatory based in the Secretariat, to generate an up-to-date, uniform, computerised data base for the entire sub-region
  6. Maritime safety and environmental protection with regards to creating effective contingency plans for pollution prevention/curtailment in member states, establishment of reception facilities for the discharge of waste from tankers, enhancement of efficiency of maritime administrations, the implementation of flag state control measures and regional Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on port state control

The overarching decision-making body for MOWCA is a General Assembly of Ministers of Transport of Member States meeting at ordinary sessions every two years and at extraordinary sessions if necessary.

The MOWCA Secretary-General coordinates the following three specialized Units for MOWCA these represent the ports, shippers and operators.

  • The Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA),
  • The Union of African Shippers Councils (UASC)
  • The Association of African Shipping Lines (ANSL)

Countries affiliated with MOWCA

Coastal States:


The Gambia




Sao Tome and Principe




Cape Verde


Sierra Leone

Republic of Congo

Equatorial Guinea


Democratic Republic of Congo


Cote d'Ivoire




Landlocked Countries:

Burkina Faso



Central African Republic


Source: MOWCA 2008

Integrated Coast Guard Function Network
Policies and Reports
Conferences and Events

The importance of MOWCA for the sustainable development of the North Atlantic is evident. The expertise demonstrated by way of their policy underscores the significant benefits for member states. MOWCA acknowledges that African sub-region's coastal waters provide for some of the World’s busiest shipping routes; which in turn create for large volumes of tanker traffic inclusive of movements from African oil producing countries and maritime safety concerns are linked to maritime transport movements. More importantly MOWCA is already working towards problem solving with regards to issues associated with the implementation of various international conventions relating to safety (SOLAS), marine pollution (MARPOL) as well as the contemporary International Safety Management Code (ISM) and the Standard of Training Certification and Watch-keeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention.