New Policy Brief Provides West and Central African Countries Tool to Track Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

Fisheries Vital to Blue Economy in West Africa
Caption: Fishermen at Jamestown Pier, Ghana. July 21, 2019. - The fishing sector is crucially important to this West African nation, providing support for more than two million people. Photo by Natalija Gormalova/AFP via Getty Images.

The Yaounde Code of Conduct is a vital, regionally-led maritime security agreement developed by the countries of West and Central Africa in response to an array of maritime challenges. 

A new report, Gauging Maritime Security in West and Central Africa, evaluates the progress Yaounde Code of Conduct signatories are making against nine measures of maritime security and governance. The report finds that the region’s existing maritime security infrastructure is an important step in the right direction, but the diversity of challenges affecting these countries, including everything from exploitative foreign fishing practices to underdeveloped maritime enforcement capacity, means that critical gaps remain.

The report finds that:

  • The Gulf of Guinea has immense potential to develop its Blue Economies through fisheries, tourism, offshore oil and gas, and maritime transportation sectors, but governments must have an eye on sustainability and equitability. 
  • International Cooperation is an area where the Gulf of Guinea excels, thanks to the legacy of information-sharing and cooperation brought forth in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, but more work is essential to ensuring that regional and national efforts align with established international frameworks.
  • Piracy and armed  robbery originating in Nigeria remains a challenge, with the region representing the greatest concentration of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the world in 2018. Potentially a sign of progress, in 2019, the Nigerian government signed into law the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill, but questions remain regarding the Bill’s ability to decrease maritime crime in Nigerian waters and beyond.

The report examines maritime security at both the regional and national level in an attempt to identify specific areas of improvement, in order to assist governments in more effectively implementing the tenets of the Yaoundé Code. 

Read Gauging Maritime Security in West and Central Africa.