East Africa, IUU fishing, maritime security, ocean governance, ports, West Africa


This paper provides an analysis of efforts to improve maritime security in East and West Africa. While maritime issues in general have been largely ignored in both regions over the past decades, they are increasingly recognized due to the potential of the ‘blue economy’. This is highlighted by a look at three specific aspects related to maritime security: offshore oil and gas production, maritime trade, and problems with IUU fishing. While those are not the only three sectors that are relevant in this context, they are useful to illustrate the complex relationships between different actors at sea and to show that maritime developments can have very direct implications on land. Furthermore, most challenges in the maritime environment are transnational by nature, such as oil and gas fields straddling maritime boundaries, migratory fish stocks that are exploited in different jurisdictions or attacks against merchant ships which may impact ports across an entire region. In the final section, the paper underlines similarities and differences in the responses to maritime security challenges in East and West Africa over the past decade. Both regions share some traits that create opportunities to draw on lessons learned, both on the national and the regional level. Several recommendations for different stakeholders are also included in the final section of the paper.

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