The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos seminar presentation tagged “Maritime Domain Awareness for Africa’s Maritime Security Architecture” on 3rd April. We had prolific presentations from the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh (OFR) and Rear Admiral F.D Akpan (rtd) we also unveiled the institute visionary plan to establish the Centre for Ocean Governance and the Blue Economy.

Research and public education in the maritime sector is of national interest as it is becoming evident that life today depends on the maritime domain. More than 95% of the World’s trade and travels is by sea, and the world’s submarine cables transmit 95% of telecomms data and earn about roughly $10 trillion per day. The Maritime domain is the lifeblood of the economy central in Africa. It is imperative to have secured maritime transit routes for integration to global markets place. The continent of Africa has 54 countries with 39 littoral states and 14 landlocked countries and an Island. The importance of the maritime economy to the littoral and landlocked states can only be imagined. Africa’s approach to sea governance was measly, mediocre, predominantly sectoral, and national.

In the seminar, we reviewed the threats, challenges, risks and strategies to tackle Maritime Security in Africa as the surge in piracy from 2000 has revealed how Africa Maritime states have been unable to prevent piracy and other Maritime crimes. This development is particularly important as some African Maritime states and stakeholders suffered from the collective inability to prevent, respond to, or even monitor or track criminal activities. We analysed the exercise sponsored by the US AFRICOM to improve regional cooperation and Maritime domain awareness and also the Falcon Eye System. The system is an efficient security oriented integrated surveillance, monitoring, and control solution for the coverage of Nigeria’s Maritime Domain, including the Gulf of Guinea.

Rear Admiral Akpan shared the challenges towards integrating Maritime domain awareness. He submitted that the lack of holistic knowledge of the ocean both physically and bio-chemically, the lack of the culture of information sharing fue to Francophone, Anglophone, and the Lucophone dichotomy, the lack of platforms both surfaces and air assets within our Maritime forces frustrates and the lack of the knowledge of the potentials or the Blue Economy all hinders Africa’s capacity in the Maritime Domain.
He also shared the strategies for an improved Maritime Security architecture in Africa. He submitted that the development of the knowledge of the ocean to reduce “Sea blindness”, the need for cooperation between states to protect these huge resources and AU must drive the process of integration from the perspective of regional alignments to engender full integration of Maritime domain awareness infrastructure in Africa.

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