Why is it important that the region is effectively policed?
The Gulf of Guinea is a vital zone to the international shipping industry, and maintaining its security is in the interests of all African countries and their economies. Just in the Western area of the Gulf of Guinea, the ports count 140 million tonnes of merchandise passing through them a year, and the coastline of the Gulf measures 6000 km from Senegal to Angola.
This zone is not only a goldmine for shipowners, but also for pirates, traffickers, illegal fishing in highly productive waters, and terrorist risks. Therefore, governments in Western Africa are keen to continue in their joint efforts to combat these threats in the Gulf.
How are these threats being managed today?
The Yaoundé process is the latest cooperative scheme in West Africa designed to minimise the security risks in the Gulf of Guinea. This involves navies and armed forces as well as agencies and organisations in each of the 17 Gulf of Guinea countries involved. Technology has been developed to help to track and intercept suspect vessels, and to monitor all activity in the waters across the Gulf.
There has also been significant investment and improvements made to the naval forces of the states contributing to the Gulf’s protection.
The Yaoundé process therefore has a lot of international support including that of the European Union, led by the French and their Navy. This support has been continuously in place since the start of a similar development, Operation Corymbe, in 1990.
How effective are these operations?
The African and French navies are reported to be acting very efficiently and effectively together, carrying out patrols and interception exercises. The Yaoundé process has significantly aided the protection of the waters in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as the relationship between the armed forces and related organisations of France and Africa.
Source: Mer et Marine Maritime News