A strategy to navigate a tough year ahead

Odwa Mtati is the chief executive officer of the South African International Maritime Institute

Odwa Mtati is the chief executive officer of the South African International Maritime Institute

Published Feb 19, 2024


Odwa Mtati

The International Monetary Fund’s economic predictions for the year are that global growth is to stay at 3.1% this year and rise to 3.2% next year.

All the while, elevated central bank rates to fight inflation and a withdrawal of fiscal support amid high debt weigh on economic activity.

This suggests tough economic conditions.

There are choices to be made and one of those is a commitment to attain the 2024 goals in spite of the challenging circumstances. As South African International Maritime Institute (Saimi) ventures into the year, the institute presents a glimpse into the future through Saimi’s vision and initiatives.

The first 30 days of this initial quintile have witnessed Saimi’s continued commitment to the inclusive development of the maritime sector. Saimi will navigate through the year, with a renewed focus on advocacy, research and innovation and education as well as skills development.

The strategic initiatives will encapsulate internationalisation and transformation as the institute embarks on a voyage to make an impact on the maritime landscape in South Africa and beyond.

Last month, the maritime sector celebrated the official handover of the SA Agulhas in Cape Town, marking a new chapter in maritime education and research. The moment symbolises a catalytic point between training and employment opportunities. Saimi is obliged to dedicate itself and partner institutions to fostering excellence in the training of South African cadets.

The institute is thrilled about JS Maritime’s commitment to continue the vessel's crucial role in training.

As the custodian of the National Seafarers’ Development Programme, Saimi stands ready to facilitate the placement of cadets, further reinforcing the commitment to the sustainable growth of the maritime workforce.

The agreements with the International Maritime Employers’ Council and the South African Maritime Training Academy will be part of efforts to address the critical issue of training berths for South African seafarers. We eagerly anticipate the commencement of training in the first half of this year.

The global stage is also a focal point for Saimi this year, with strategic partnerships such as the memorandum of understanding with the International Association of Maritime Universities.

Their visit to the country last year amplifies the commitment to collaborate in the endeavours to position SA maritime institutes to equal stature to other global institutions.

On the home front, Saimi continues to support maritime skills development interventions from basic to tertiary education.

Last month, the institute hosted the first national workshop for maritime educators as part of the initiative to capacitate high schools offering maritime subjects.

Saimi intends to elevate the quality of maritime education within the further education and training band, including maritime high schools.

The institute has commissioned a programme to develop teaching and lecturing subject specialisations in nautical science and maritime economics for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education and the Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching.

Looking ahead, the Saimi research think tank stands as a testament to the commitment to advancing knowledge and innovation across seven thematic areas. This encompasses vital components such as knowledge generation, capacity building, supervision of post-graduate students, and fostering collaboration and engagement within the research community.

In a bid to foster knowledge exchange, Saimi is gearing up to host a maritime IT round-table next month.

This will bring together key stakeholders in the maritime information technology and cybersecurity domain ... to facilitate insightful discussions and forge meaningful collaborations that contribute to the progress of our maritime initiatives.

These initiatives, with several others, underscore Saimi’s approach to advocacy, research, innovation, skills education and training as part of the commitment to contribute to the growth and sustainability of the sector.

* Mtati is the chief executive officer of the South African International Maritime Institute

Cape Times

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