In March, The Zambia Business in Development Facility (ZBIDF) facilitated a Marine Safety Dialogue, bringing together members of the government, business, and development agencies, to identify collaborative and innovative solutions to marine safety challenges.
The workshop took place a little over six months after the tragedy in which 26 citizens, including 22 schoolchildren, lost their lives when their boat capsized on Lake Kariba on Zambia’s Independence Day in 2014.
The main objective of the workshop was to enable stakeholders in the marine industry to dialogue on collaborative solutions that will enhance marine safety countrywide. Participants included representatives from the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply & Communication, the Zambia Police Service, business representatives from Madison General Insurance, ZISC General Insurance, as well as from Autoworld and Aliboats, nautical equipment specialists, and development agency African Management Services Company (AMSCO).
The workshop examined issues around the safety of navigation in Zambia, highlighting the need for deliberate interventions, such as the mandatory use of life jackets. Other challenging areas included sea worthiness of vessels, competence of crews, and quality of equipment.
A number of priorities for action were identified, and in particular the need for a nationwide education and awareness campaign on marine safety as one way of ensuring that people adopt safe practices, as well as the need for training schools to educate boat operators on safe navigation. It was also agreed that updated legislation could empower the Marine Police and Maritime and Inland Waters Department be more effective in enforcing compliance.
Among the concrete collaborative solutions that emerged from the workshop, one was the suggestion of developing an awareness-raising partnership, with funding from insurance companies through their CSR programmes, to produce a campaign the use of life jackets, which would also stress the need for insurance as a risk mitigation measure.
The meeting was concluded with a vice-presidential address, held by Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga on behalf of the Republican Vice President, Hon. Inonge Wina. The speech re-stated the importance of community awareness and education, of affordable access to life saving devices and vessels, and of enhanced communication and rescue measures.
The ZBIDF is part of Business Partnership Action (BPA), a centre of excellence to develop the enabling infrastructure required to scale up public-private collaboration towards the post-2015 sustainable development goals. BPA supports the creation of locally-owned and run country-level platforms or Hubs that systematically bring together government, business, donors, the UN and NGOs to facilitate innovation and directly support ‘win-win’ partnerships across sectors to achieve sustainable development priorities.
Workshop photo – courtesy of the Zambian Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, Maritime and Inland Waters Department.