Strengthening maritime research at SAIMI
SAIMI has appointed its first Research Associate in a move to establishing its capacity to support maritime economic growth through research, knowledge management and advisory services.
Advocate Akhona Baninzi recently completed her LLM in Shipping Law at UCT and has joined SAIMI as a Research Associate focusing on maritime policy formulation and implementation.
“We envision SAIMI becoming a centre of applied research, knowledge generation and information sharing to support government and industry across the broad spectrum of the oceans economy in areas such as policy formulation, economic data and growth opportunities, curriculum development, technology and innovation.
“This is the first step in that direction, and we will shortly be recruiting additional members to our research team, as well as offering our first professional development seminar, on the Maritime Labour Convention, in August,” SAIMI chief executive Prof Malek Pourzanjani said.
Baninzi completed a BA in International Relations & Economic Studies and an LLB at Wits University. She was admitted as an advocate of the High Court before embarking on her LLM studies.
She believes that the right policies will help unlock the potential of the maritime sector for economic growth and sustainable job creation. “Our country was colonised because of the waters which link us to the rest of the world. There are so many industries built up around international trade, and yet we do not see ourselves as a maritime nation.
“South Africa definitely needs good policies in order to ensure that the maritime sector realises its potential and that we are aligned with international regulations,” she says.
By analysing and informing stakeholders on policy SAIMI will help steer the way to finding a balance between the needs of business and those of the country as a whole.
One of the first priorities is to identify how SAIMI can support implementation of the recently approved Comprehensive Maritime Policy for South Africa. The Grahamstown-born and raised advocate says she “stumbled upon law and also stumbled upon maritime/shipping.
“I did not even know there was such a thing as Shipping/Maritime law or that the maritime industry existed. I am fortunate that I came across someone who mentioned something about shipping which caught my interest.
“Having been exposed to the shipping industry through my studies I realised the potential that exists and it baffled me why South Africa is not a major recognised player in international maritime trade/industry.
“I want to be part of South Africa realising its full ‘Blue ocean’ economy and contribute towards the country being a well-established, fully fledged maritime player,” she says.
Baninzi works out of SAIMI’s Port Elizabeth offices.