DJIBOUTI, June 14 (Xinhua) — The European Union has granted 37 million euros to the member states of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to reinforce the fight against maritime piracy off the East African coastline.
The head of the EU delegation, Joseph Silva, and the IGAD executive secretary, Mahboub Mohamed Maaline, signed the agreement on Thursday in Djibouti, the headquarters of the regional body.
The grant was given under the auspices of the EU Regional Maritime Security Program (MASE), which seeks to reinforce maritime security in waters off Africa’s eastern and southern coastline, where piracy has become a headache for the past decade.
The IGAD is composed of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.
Approved in 2011, the MASE Program is supported by the 10th European Fund for Development involving four sub-regional organizations in Africa.
The four sub-regional organizations include the Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the IGAD and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).
The executive secretary of the IGAD hailed the EU’s continued support to East African and Indian Ocean countries whose waters have become less secure due to piracy, especially in the Somali waters.
“The reinforcement of security along the maritime routes is crucial for us, because it will be beneficial to trade and will promote the region’s growth,” he said.
Since 2008, the EU has initiated the Atalante naval operation, which is headquartered in Djibouti and covers the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to secure the maritime route, one of the most frequented by commercial ships.