Africa’s IMO IOUs could impact Council elections

Africa’s IMO IOUs could impact Council elections

IMO Member States currently meeting in London

Just over 43% of the International Maritime Organisation’s monies owed by Member States emanates from African countries including nine of which have arrears dating back to previous years that will impact on their eligibility to vote in the upcoming election.  

Of the 175 Member States and three Associate Members, 135 have made a full payment of their 2023 assessment, 26 have made a partial payment and 17 have made no payment. All of the 40 current Council Members as well as all of the candidates vying for election in December are up to date with their payments.

In addition, 13 Member States carry arrears for 2022 and prior years. Nine of these are African countries. According to Article 61 of the IMO Convention, these countries cannot vote in the Assembly, the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, the Legal Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Technical Cooperation Committee or the Facilitation Committee unless the Assembly, at its discretion, waives this provision.

Last week Somalia sought to have this provision waived and, in a letter to the IMO, stated that the country was “in the process” of settling its  £11,172.31 in arrears. Noting that this was not likely to be concluded by the date of the vote, Somalia has requested that the provision be waived to allow “it to participate in the 33rd Assembly regular session including to vote in the Assembly and all relevant bodies of the organisation.”

Whether this request will be granted is debatable as the IMO’s Rules of Procedure of the Assembly requires that such a request is made at least one month before the Assembly meets.

This means that the African countries listed as candidates in the IMO Council election this year will not be able to rely on fellow African Member States that have been stripped of their vote.

TABLE: African Member States that are not paid-up members of the IMO

















































* Countries that have arrears dating back to 2022 and before - and who are, therefore, not eligible to vote. 



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