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Formal collaboration in the Shipping and Maritime sector among the States in Eastern and Southern Africa was initiated by the founding fathers of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. This came after regional economies faced adverse conditions in shipping and international trade that were beyond their individual control. The complexities and international nature of these issues necessitated collective action.

The collaboration began in 1967 on an ad-hoc basis, using a Standing Committee of representatives. It was later formalized with the establishment of the ISCOS (Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping) Secretariat in 1974 and a Treaty in 1987. The primary mandate of the organization was to advise governments on addressing soaring freight rates and other adverse conditions in international trade that negatively impacted shipping and maritime trade, while also undertaking several functions on their behalf.

ISCOS, now MOESNA operated primarily as a Government-to-Government body until 2006, when it transformed to accommodate the changing dynamics in shipping and international trade. This evolution recognized the increasing role of the private sector in shipping and freight logistics, as well as the need to promote trade across inland water bodies.

Today, the organization brings together governments and the private sector. It coordinates engagements with various stakeholders in shipping and maritime transport, including maritime administrations, shippers’ councils, freight forwarders, ports and port administrations, maritime training institutions, ship owners, and regional and multinational service providers. This collaboration aims to achieve seamless connectivity in shipping and maritime trade across the region.

The founding members of ISCOS, which began as a four-member organization and has since expanded to six, have observed the universal challenges affecting regional states in shipping and maritime sectors. They recognize the necessity of advancing together as Africa, understanding that it is not in their own interests nor in the region’s interests for the organization, with its universal mandate, to remain limited in membership and operations. The challenges and aspirations shared by other regional states were fundamental to the formation of a regional maritime body.

In acknowledgment of this, States in Eastern, Southern, and parts of Northern Africa, utilizing the Indian Ocean and its adjoining water bodies for maritime passage in international trade, align with the founding members of ISCOS. Unified by common challenges and aspirations in the shipping and maritime sector, they are utilizing the existing framework provided by MOESNA, a pioneering intergovernmental maritime organization in the region, to reorganize themselves.

By leveraging their collective strength to achieve economies of scale, create synergies, and build upon each other’s strengths, they aim to drive their collective maritime initiatives as a unified entity.

Following three highly successful meetings of ministers responsible for Shipping and Maritime affairs in the region, the most recent held in June 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya—which resulted in the rebranding of ISCOS to MOESNA and the admission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia as the sixth member state—various states are now at different stages of formalizing their membership with the organization.

Secretary General

Appointed ISCOS Secretary General in January 2020, Mr. Daniel Mwanza Kiange took up the executive leadership of the region’s major Maritime body with over 24 years of experience in Trade Logistics, Shipping, Port Operations, and Medium and Top Management of the Maritime and Trade Logistics Sectors. With a combination of hands on experience from the private and public sector, Mr. Kiange possess vast knowledge and expertise in the development and implementation of Systems, Strategies and Polices.

Mr. Kiange has played key roles in the development and implementation of various Trade facilitation platforms and Systems in the region and has been part of several National and Regional and international  undertakings and initiatives on Trade Facilitation and investment, Policy harmonization, Strategic planning  and Management of  Sea Ports and their extensions, Development and implementation  of Key performance Indicators (KPIs) in  the Maritime Sector, Regional economic integration and policy harmonization, as well as improvements in performance of Trade corridors of the region, among others.   He has also played key roles in the understudying and Automation of various Shipping and Trade Logistics process and platforms in the region.

Mr. Kiange is a holder of a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Nairobi and a Certified Internal Systems Auditor (CISA) from the Institute of information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). He also holds a Prince 2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management from APMG International Axelos, a Senior Management Certificate from the Kenya School of Government and Strategic Leadership Development Program (SLDP) from the same institution, and a Diploma in Port Operations from the ICSP in addition to several other academic and professional qualifications.

Institutional Framework

The Assembly

The Assembly is the highest Organ of the Organization whose full Membership are the Ministers responsible for Maritime Transport in the Member States, or any other Ministers or Plenipotentiaries designated by the respective Governments.

The Assembly is responsible for formulating general policies of the Organization and determining appropriate ways and means by which the Organization can achieve its objectives.

The Co-ordination Committee

The Coordination Committee is constituted by Permanent/Principle Secretaries (or their equivalent) in Ministries responsible for Maritime Transport matters in the respective Member States or their designated representatives who are senior officers of Government.

The Mandate of the Coordination Committee is to Coordinate the activities and functions of the Technical Committees and prepare Technical and Administrative Reports for the Assembly.

Technical Committees

Technical Committees comprise officers from the Member States and Associate member organizations who are experts in the relevant field of the Committee. The Mandate of the Technical Committees to Review and Generate Administrative and Technical Programmes of the Organization and to prepare Reports for the Coordination Committee.

There are four technical committees:

  • Technical Committee on Finance, Administration and Resource Mobilization;
  • Technical Committee on Trade Facilitation;
  • Technical Committee on Maritime Safety, Security and Marine Environment;
  • Technical Committee on Legal, Membership and Credentials, and International Relations.

The Secretariat

The Secretariat is the Administrative Organ of the organization headed by the Secretary General appointed by the Assembly. Its mandate is to coordinate and implement programmes and activities of the Organization.  

Vision Statement

Africa’s Centre of Excellence for Shipping and Maritime Matters.

Mission Statement

To Promote and Advocate for Efficient and Competitive Shipping and Maritime Services in Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa.



• Promote, Protect and Coordinate the Shipping and Maritime Interests of its Members in the Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa,
• Advocate for Competitive Shipping and Maritime services in the Region
• Study, Advise on and Support the development of the Shipping and Maritime sectors of the Contracting Parties.
• Undertake Industry research and disseminate Information and Advisories on emerging matters of Policy and Practice in the industry.
• Facilitate the effective representation of Land Linked States in Coastal shipping services and enable a Coordinated Interface between Land linked and Coastal States.
• Organize and Capacity-build the Shipping and Maritime Sector.
• Support the Development and Implementation of National and Regional Shipping and Maritime Initiatives.
• Coordinate matters of Safety and Security of Maritime bodies and facilities
• Promote Investments in the Shipping and Maritime sector.
• Enable and facilitate structured collaboration and Coordination of players in the sector.
• Facilitate the accession to and implementation of International Maritime Conventions and Agreements.
• Study and advise on opportunities of Maritime connectivity between Regional States, Promote Maritime Trade in the Region and continually advocate for borderless Shipping in order to enhance Shipping and Intra Regional Maritime Trade.
• Assist Contracting parties especially the Land linked States to demystify the Maritime concept and connect to the International shipping world.
• Promote Maritime Training and the uptake of Maritime carers and building capacity for the Maritime training institutions and professionals.
• Promote Shipping and trade across inland water bodies and Coordinate Riparian States in the effective and efficient use of shared inland water bodies for transport and trade.
• Liaise with other key stakeholders (Public and Private) in promotion of the African Maritime agenda.

Contact Us


MOESNA Secretariat
Palm Drive, Off Links Road, Nyali
P.O. Box 89112 – 80100
Mombasa, Kenya
+254 722 207940/ +254 721 207940
[email protected]

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