n Conflict Trends - Maritime security in Africa : potential for the private sector?

Volume 2014, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Maritime matters have long been neglected in most African countries. While almost all coastal states on the continent claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that stretches out to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from the coastline, little effort has been made to realise the ocean's economic potential. In recent years, however, the picture has started to change.

Problems with piracy off Somalia and in the Gulf of Guinea are the most headline-grabbing phenomenon. More importantly, pirate attacks have highlighted the challenges associated with a lack of security at sea. Illegal fishing, smuggling of drugs and weapons or human trafficking could all have serious ramifications on land. Offshore oil and gas production offers vast opportunities, but can only take place in a more or less secure environment. Finally, maritime trade and, to a lesser extent, tourism are important ingredients for future economic growth; yet again, though, security at sea is a critical factor.

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