By Edward Lundquist
Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa 2014 conference examining threats, challenges, opportunities in the Gulf of Guinea
The Navy of Ghana has invited industry experts and military and law enforcement leaders to Accra for the Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa 2014 conference. The delegates are examining the threats, challenges and opportunities that are present in the Gulf of Guinea and Africa‚Äôs Atlantic coast.
In welcoming remarks, Vice President of Ghana Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur said there is enormous opportunity in developing the resources of the Gulf of Guinea, but also a huge cost presented by insecurity, which constrains investment. The potential is being undermined by domestic, regional and international threats. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre looking for long term partnerships and standardization across our region. Working together is the best way to guarantee safety, security and economic prosperity of the region.‚Äù
Chief of Naval Staff of the Ghana Navy, Rear Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro , said that the maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea has caught the attention of entire international community. ‚ÄúIt is a threat to international peace and stability,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúIt is a challenge that transcends international boundaries.‚Äù
Ghanas‚Äôs maritime domain has changed significantly in the last few years, Biekro said. ‚ÄúThe discovery of hydrocarbon deposits will change the economic environment and become the engine of national progress.‚Äù
He said the Ghana Navy is reorganizing to be more flexible, responsive, and adaptable, with platforms embracing modularity that can be quickly adapted for specific missions
The vision is for more cooperation and information sharing with domestic partners and regional neighbors. Industry partners are important, too, he said, with some offering ‚Äúcomplete solutions.‚Äù But, he added, state institutions must lead way to safeguard issues of sovereignty.
Other speakers have included senior officers from other nations in the region, including Nigeria, South Africa, Gabon, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast and industry sponsors.
Participants were able to visit the Naval Dockyard at Sekondi and air base at Takoradi as guests of the Ghana Navy and Air Force.
The event is produced by IQPC. Conference producer Michael Champion attributes the large attendance and smooth operation on the event to the close attention and involvement of the Ghana Navy.