ECOWAS, EU join forces to fight maritime insecurity in West Africa

By Francis Ameyibor
Maritime, Port & Aviation ECOWAS, EU join forces to fight maritime insecurity in West Africa
APR 8, 2022 LISTEN

Colonel Abdourahmane Dieng, the Head of ECOWAS’ Regional Security Division has revealed that "there can be no development without security, and no security without development".

This concerns both the maritime domain and the continent.

Col Dieng, therefore, noted that turning the tide against maritime insecurity is a collaborative effort that no single country or region can tackle alone, stressing the need for all stakeholders to work together to eliminate the maritime threats along the entire Gulf of Guinea.

Col. Dieng stated this during a High-Level Seminar on Maritime Security at the Nigeria Commission of ECOWAS in Abuja, Nigeria on April 4th and 5th, 2022 organized in the framework of the Support Project for Integrated Maritime Security in West Africa (SWAIMS), and funded by the European Union.

In an ECOWAS document available to the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema, the seminar also examined and refined the modalities for the distribution of essential maritime security equipment in the ECOWAS riparian countries.

He said as a result of the threat of maritime insecurity the ECOWAS, in conjunction with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), formulated the Yaoundé Code of Conduct as a foundation for broad-based regional maritime security along the entire Gulf of Guinea.

Col. Dieng noted that the security partnership goes beyond Africa, embracing the European Union (EU) and other key international players geographically outside the Gulf of Guinea because the Gulf is of global importance as a crucial international maritime route.

Ambassador Nicolas Berlanga Martinez, the EU Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea said “the EU is a committed partner to the Gulf of Guinea region”.

He said the EU will continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen the critical features of the Yaoundé security architecture, further cementing the long-standing relationship between ECOWAS and the EU.

The high-level maritime security seminar was attended by coastal ECOWAS countries: Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.

Officials from the Ministries of Defence (mostly the Navy), Transport (mostly Maritime Agencies) and Foreign Affairs.