Spotlight: Championing maritime security at the African Union

The ISS is opening Africa's eyes to the potential of the blue economy for growth and development.

‘Africa cannot afford to remain seablind’. This is how Timothy Walker, researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) described the importance of harnessing Africa’s ‘blue economy’ at the African Union (AU) Commission’s Day of the African Seas and Oceans in Addis Ababa on 25 July.

As a leading African organisation working on maritime issues, the ISS was asked by the commission to moderate a panel of experts on enhancing maritime governance for sustainable development in Africa. The meeting included speakers from the AU, the International Maritime Organisation, Cardiff University, Women in Maritime in Africa, the University of Lomé and the African Ship Owners Association.

Africa cannot afford to remain seablind

‘Our research shows that Africa’s seas and oceans are an untapped resource. If used responsibly, it could help the continent achieve its long-term development goals,’ says Walker. ‘Discussing maritime governance and a sustainable blue economy at the AU is an important step towards curing Africa’s seablindness’.

But to achieve this, speakers agreed, there is an urgent need for enhanced training and education for African seafarers.

The ISS is assisting the AU and other regional economic communities to develop and implement maritime strategies. Its expertise in the field allows the ISS to steer maritime conversations at all political levels and inform decision makers and the public of the importance of maritime security for Africa.

Rear Admiral Rusty Higgs, Chief of Naval Staff in the South African Navy agrees: ‘The ISS is helping us in the battle against seablindness both locally and in our region’.

In the run up to the AU summit on maritime security due to take place in October in Lomé, Togo, ISS will be an anchor point for discussing how maritime stakeholders at continental, regional and national levels can contribute to sustainable blue economic growth, maritime security and better governance of oceans and seas.

For more information contact:

Timothy Walker, ISS: +27 72 689 5825, [email protected]

Picture: ©DavidD

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