(ECOWAS), along with the International Maritime Organization, Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa, Gulf of Guinea Commission, African Union (AU), U.S. Departments of State, Justice and U.S. Coast Guard at the seminar forged partnerships and identified projects that can support maritime security activities.
They also strengthened some collaborative strategies.
The ACSS academic lead, Assis Malaquias explained: “The seminar is not only about sharing ideas but also about getting to concrete solutions.
“The ACSS works hand-in-hand with AFRICOM as a regional centre to develop critical strategic analyses designed to provide insight pertaining to security and further engagements.
“Panel discussions examined maritime threats and the cost of inaction, as well as legal definitions and existing frameworks for international cooperation, operations pursuant to law enforcement bilateral agreements in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, piracy and related disposition issues in high risk waters, African maritime law enforcement partnership fisheries seizure in West Africa, and illegal migration in the maritime domain were the other topics of discussion.”
Also, General Carter Ham, U.S. AFRICOM commander, who kicked-off the seminar cited two underlying principles: “a safe, stable and secure Africa is in the best interest of the United States, and African solutions to African security challenges is key to their success.
Ham added: “Africa’s future-its economic vitality rests with maritime security and the ability to export and import goods; and without adequate maritime security that would simply not be possible.
“Ultimately, it will be the African states who decide what the right way ahead is and it will be the African states who will be responsible for the implementation of the agreements and the memorandum of understandings that are developed here.”
He noted that the maritime safety and security issues are of mutual concern for all parties involved in the seminar.
Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Duarte Monteiro, commander of the Cape Verde Coast Guard, reinforced the need for strong regional communities.
He noted: “While each country has different problems, the threats remain common to us all and it is paramount that we all get together to tackle the issues and try to come up with workable solutions for individual countries and cooperate at the regional level.
Lieutenant Colonel Victorien Sinha, commander of the Benin Naval Training Center, appreciates the kind of pressure this conference has on the political will on local governments and authorities that will create the necessary awareness.