Maritime Security

The Africa Programme is now examining increasingly complex maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.

This draws on our track record on piracy, extractive issues and armed non-state actors, as well as our regional end expert networks, including in Nigeria and Angola.

The Africa Programme became a leading source of policy relevant information on the nature and political context of the threats posed by Somali pirates, as part of our Horn of Africa Project.

This included an influential paper on Piracy in Somalia written by Roger Middleton in 2008.

Reports and meetings since then have assisted a number of government ministries, militaries, non-governmental organizations and companies in better understanding and addressing the threat.

Although hijacking of ships continues, a number of measures, including counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia have reduced piracy in the region. 

Piracy and armed robbery at sea are ongoing challenges, but so is crude oil theft, drugs smuggling and other forms of illegal activity with links into broader regional problems of corruption, lacking capacity and land-based criminality and underdevelopment.

Regional maritime security is important to the energy security of a number of international actors. At the same time maritime resources such as fish, aquaculture and healthy ecosystems directly contribute to the livelihoods of many Africans.