Many economically disadvantaged West African states have formed agreements with Chinese fishing companies to profit from untapped fishing opportunities throughout West Africa. However, a lack of transparency, law enforcement mechanisms, personnel and funding have enabled Chinese companies to exploit West Africa’s marine resources, taking advantage of loopholes that plague the industry. This illegal activity not only damages marine life, it upsets local economies, pushing artisanal fisherman to farther locations in search of adequate amounts of fish. Chinese companies, West African governments and the international community must be incentivized to maintain marine resources for long-term use, benefiting all stakeholders.
Maritime rights, piracy, pollution, migration, and illegal trafficking of persons, weapons, and drugs are all growing challenges for many African states. The issue affects both communities living close to the sea as well as bilateral and multilateral relations at the international level. To safeguard their waters, maritime trade, and ocean resources, African states will need to build stronger and more stable security and judicial institutions. Working on solutions at the political level, especially with civil society support, is crucial to reinforcing security responses.
A growing number of Africa’s security challenges—narcotics trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, and armed robberies, among others—take place at sea. Illicit actors exploit Africa’s maritime space given its expansiveness and the limited number of vessels African governments can field to interdict this activity. Technology can dramatically improve Africa’s maritime security coverage. However, to do so will require engaging Africa’s scientists who can guide and sustain these efforts. This will yield not only security but environmental and meteorological benefits for the continent.
Piracy, illegal fishing, and narcotics and human trafficking are growing rapidly in Africa and represent an increasingly central component of the threat matrix facing the continent. However, African states’ maritime security structures are often misaligned with the challenges posed and need coast guard capabilities and an array of intra-governmental partnerships.
The author outlines the challenges to coastal zone monitoring and control in Ghana, as well as the technological tools (and their legal implications) available to relevant security sectors. A well-written case study from the perspective of a member of the Ghanaian armed forces.
This article focuses on Somalia-related off-shore security challenges with a discussion of the causes of maritime security challenges in the wider region.
A brief overview of the maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea, followed by a call for greater regional cooperation and civic engagement. The author highlights the human security implications (economic losses, trade and shipping, and in relation to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals) of the maritime security challenge in Africa.
Security Topics: Maritime Security