Bridging the gap between UK and overseas post-graduate studies in shipping: an opportunity to link theories with practice and find the way to resolve the issues of migration and brain-draining from Africa to Western countries. The Bridge Magazine interviews Jean-Paul Wafo, the maritime law consultant who initiated the project.
One of the world’s most prestigious universities in Cameroon is to host a new Post- Professional Degree Programme in shipping Law in February 2017, following a guardianship convention signed with a UK maritime law consulting firm.
The private Roman Catholic University of Central Africa (CUAC), based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, is open for Catholics and laics students. It is known for two thirds of its graduates landing international high income jobs within the first few weeks after graduating.
To emphasise the importance of training and education for maritime personnel,Mr. Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea) the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in his recent annual World Maritime Day message, reported: “Without a quality labour force, motivated, trained and skilled to the appropriate international standards, shipping cannot thrive.”
In the same stream of thought, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) recently mentioned education as a whole in a recent report which reinforced that education for sustainable development allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.
UNESCO is a specialised agency of the United Nations system.
More factual quotes and current approaches to the project were given by M. Jean-Paul Wafo, a UK maritime law specialist in an interview with The Bridge Magazine on Monday the 17th October 2016, in which he quoted a report for Maritime UK of March 2015 published in the Oxford Review of Economics:
“In terms of economic impact, the UK Maritime Service Sector has created 276 , 700 jobs since 2011 which represents 0.8 % of the total UK employment. Moreover the maritime services sector made an estimated £13.8 billion direct value-added contribution to GDP in 2011, which equivalents to 0.9% of the UK economy”.
Wafo’s F&W maritime law Consulting firm, along with the Catholic University of Yaoundé programme, are very much in tune not only with the IMO and UNESCO education agendas, but most importantly with the current reality of the UK and worldwide employment markets in the Maritime Law sector.
An attempt to resolve the issues of migration/ brain-draining from Africa to Western countries and to tackle poverty
With regards to the migrant crisis, and unlike the common portrayal of the right-wing mainstream Western media, two thirds of African arrivals are literate. What those immigrants often find in the so-called ‘land of the free’ frequently falls short of their expectations: they often do the dirty work that most European workers shun, such as cleaning, kitchen pottering, shelf-stacking in shops, caring for vulnerable people (children, the elderly, blind, disabled etc.), mining, street sweeping, public toilet cleaning, and security work.
But there is a glimmer of hope as the new post-professional degree programme in admiralty law, starting next January, will prevent many African graduates embarking on an absurd European adventure. The programme will not only prevent many falling into such a trap, but more importantly, graduates will be hotly sought by international companies.
Sub-Saharan Africa is awash with the world’s top multibillion busiest sea ports that need skilled and professional trained workforces to thrive.
After travelling the world to achieve education and work experience, M. Wafo is now bringing back knowledge to his native land.
His firm, F&W Consulting, in partnership with the UCAC, is to bring for the first time a bilingual (English and French) admiralty law course programme to Cameroon.
Talking about Jean-Paul Wafo, he is the type of person who will easily go unnoticed until you start speaking to him. Once you start a conversation with him, he appears amazingly well-informed on all issues. His Cartesian deductive reasoning is intellectually seductive. He will give you a good and firm handshake and speak to you in a confident and relaxed mood.
- Why do you intend to start your chair in a maritime law course at the UCAC rather than somewhere else?
With enough professional experience in corporate law under my belt, I thought it was the right time to embrace the challenge: I then set up F&W Consulting, a consultancy firm in shipping, with my London-based business partner, Dr. Alexis Kemi Foua, who holds a Ph.D. in International Economic and Labour Law.
To learn more about F&W Consulting Maritime Law business unit and to receive advice on maritime law issues, click link below.
F&W Consulting is a consultancy firm specialised in shipping. Its headquarters are based in London. The new deep sea port created in Kribi, Cameroon, has a capacity of covering the major sub-region neighbourhood countries. I had a vision to bring a specialised Maritime Sciences Programme to Cameroon, and UCAC –with the support of, Professor Jonathan Bikanda– was among the few universities which spotted the opportunity, mostly as they already had a well-structured programme called formation continue in English, post-professional degree programme.
Professor Pierre Jonathan Bikanda is an academic who graduated from Clermont Ferrand in France. He holds a PhD in marketing and analysis of socioeconomic behaviour. He is currently Director of the post-professional degree programme- (UCAC) at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The UCAC has one of the most prestigious ethos and academic brands, built on academic excellence and core values. Employment-wise, two thirds of UCAC graduates land well-paid jobs within the first few weeks after graduation.
The concept behind the UCAC is to combine academic and professional fields where employees and postgraduate students acquire practical and professional skills via further post-professional development. Once they are well equipped, this will enable them to face the harsh reality of the employment market. There couldn’t be a better time for a contract to be signed between the UCAC and F&W Consulting.
2- Tell us about your academic background
I successfully completed a Bachelor of Laws and a Master’s degree in French Corporate Law, then further completed an MA in Finance (with distinction), a postgraduate degree in Commercial Law (with merit), a LLM in International Trade, Transport & Maritime Law in London. I worked for a while and gained experience in shipping, banking and management consultancy. I am currently pursuing a PhD in maritime security law.
3- Could you give more details about the course/ subject you offer to teach?
We are offering two main courses taught in both languages English and French:
I-An International professional Bachelor honours in maritime sciences & logistics, made of 60 credits with 14 modules taught and split in two semesters starting from February 2017 to February 2018 [12 Months] with a total of 600 hours and a compulsory placement of 12 to 16 weeks completed with completion and presentation of a thesis in front of a jury at the end of the academic year;
- A professional Certification in Port Management and Operations
- A Professional Certification in Carriage of Goods by Sea and Cargo claims
- A professional Certification in Vessel Arrest, Maritime Liens & Arbitration
- A professional Certification in Ship Collision and Maritime Disputes.
- A professional Certification in Laytime and Demurrage
These certification modules will match the expectations of any student/professional interested in Practical Commercial Law and Public Law. The certifications modules are made of seven courses including a research paper of 5000 words maximum with an optional topic to choose by students.
The certificate modules duration is seven months.
The fees of the courses:
The International professional Bachelor Honours in Maritime Sciences and Logistics costs:
CFA 1500.000 in local currency
The professional certification costs: CFA 1000.000 in local currency
About Enrolment administration routine:
-Copy of ID/Passport
-Application fee: CFA 25.000 in local currency
NB: All payment made directly to UCAC
For those who either have queries about the course or who wish to enrol please contact directly
Mrs Gannty Ouangmotching, at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
To learn more about UCAC University please find the website link below.
Tel : (+237) 66 16 22 140
Email : 1) firstname.lastname@example.org
Or M. Jean- Paul Wafo
Tel: (+44) 781 888 2496
4 You are introducing a new course to support the plan at the Catholic University of Yaoundé in Cameroon. How does the course align with contemporary trends?
In terms of world business, over 90% of the world’s trade is carried-out by sea, putting international shipping at the heart of every single import and export business.
Moreover, Cameroon has just built one of the major deep sea ports in Kribi. Geographically and technically, the Kribi deep sea port has the potential for being the best hub in Central and Western Africa. Cameroon is a bilingual country in full economic expansion with a huge potential for investment. The country is rich in natural resources: forests, oil, aluminium ore, and liquefied natural gas.
- Does one need to be Catholic to enrol at the Catholic University of Yaoundé in Cameroon?
Not at all, UCAC has a very open recruitment policy that enables them to host students from all walks of life, whatever their religious beliefs. This is exemplified by a signature of a Headquarters Agreement between the Republic of Cameroon and the Holy See, which gives to UCAS an international status according to Article 4 of the Convention.
- Does the course lead to immediate employment? If yes, what types of companies will hire students graduated from the course and what type of job roles can they apply for?
Since the creation of UCAC in July 1989 by the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa Region (ACERAC), all students graduated from this prestigious university have landed high income jobs as soon as they graduated. In terms of job specification, companies in the maritime services and international trade sectors offer a wide range of career opportunities at all levels in the public and private sectors, in the manufacturing/distributions companies, trade services providers, trade regulators, trade assistance services, banking, insurance, educations, legal advisory body, to list a few.
- Who does this course apply to?
This course applies to professionals as well as postgraduate students who have studied Transport, Logistic, International Trade, Shipping, Freight Forwarders, Custom Officers, Managers and all judicial body includes lawyers, judges, judicial experts, legal advisors…
- In a sense do you think this will partially resolve the issues of migration and brain-draining from Africa to Western countries?
I don’t want to sound overconfident, but, yes, is the answer: because the African Continent is awash with plenteous resources of ore, oil, coltan, silver, diamond, gold, or timber, commodities of all sorts to list a few; as well as endlessly fertile lands that could feed half the planet.
According to a recent World Bank study on a programme called AICD (Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic), the sub-Saharan African countries cover the major ports classified in three regions of maritime trade East Africa, South Africa, West Africa with two modes of freight containers and various merchandises. If the human resources are well-equipped the youth and workforce in Africa will no longer jeopardise their lives in the Lampedusa Sea in search of good fortunes in Europe.
- Why do you think the new course is relevant?
This programme is of paramount capital giving the deep sea port of Kribi’s potential as a major hub port in the sub-region. Many jobs will be created thus; existing professionals in the field can easily have a rewarding career, as well as new graduate students. In terms of economic impact, the UK maritime service sector has created 276, 700 jobs since 2011, which represents 0.8 % of the total UK employment. Moreover, the maritime services sector made an estimated £13.8 billion direct value-added contribution to GDP in 2011, which equates to 0.9% of the UK economy. Drawing this analysis I can confirm that this course will enhance students’ ability to secure better jobs
- Changing the subject. You look smart. Do you like your clothes?
Sort of. Wearing designer clothes is not my prime concern. However, I would expect my clothes choices to suit me. For sure, a professional appearance gives good impressions to other stakeholders.
- What makes your course different from others?
Our USP is based on offering maritime sciences programmes in two languages, English and French, and also hiring lecturers and professionals from the UK. The UK is perceived as the world’s leading maritime business services hub. The City of London Corporation offers marine insurance, ship-broking, legal services and education
- What do you like to have on your plate?
I enjoy healthy food in order to keep as fit as possible. I enjoy starchy and carbohydrate-rich meals, fruits, vegetables, as well as a bit of meat and fish in general.
- What are your favourite sports/ leisure activities?
I enjoy football –it is a collective sport. It is one of those rare sports that drive passion among nations. I also enjoy playing football every weekend as leisure at an amateur level. I enjoy swimming and jogging as well.
14 . What saddens you?
Bad politics and propaganda.
15 . Make a wish
Maritime trade security is crucial for global trade nowadays. Regardless a broad spectrum of the geopolitical and geostrategic perception of various actors aiming for crasy profits, and given the scale of risks such as terrorism, piracy, narcotics, human trafficking, illegal fishing- the issues of maritime security should be addressed within a coordinated framework of measures not only at domestic but also regional and international levels.
Thank you very much Jean- Paul for opening up to The Bridge Magazine...
The current saga over Togo (a West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea). The extraordinary summit on maritime security, safety and development in Africa is testament to the extent to which the sector needs more trained and skilled personnel.
The summit started on 15th October 2016 and is set to welcome over thirty Heads of State with the objective of signing the draft Charter on maritime security.
There cannot be better timing than February 2017 for those wishing to enrol for the aforementioned post-professional degree programme.