The Heads of State and Government of the 54 countries in the African Union will meet in Lomé on 15 October 2016 for the Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa in order to establish a roadmap on maritime security in the continent. This special session will build on the results of the summits held in Yaoundé (June 2013) and the Seychelles (February 2015), in order to put in place an African strategy for the protection of its seas and oceans, to provide peace, security and stability, and to make African maritime space the key driver for sustainable economic development.
Africa’s inland waters, oceans and seas are under pressure. Over the years, traditional maritime activities like shipping and fishing have escalated, while new activities such as aquaculture or renewable offshore energy have been introduced. However, the upsurge of maritime activities is taking place against a background of insecurity, with various forms of illegal trafficking, deterioration in the marine environment and its biodiversity, as well as the compounded impacts of climate change. Over recent decades, the accumulated revenue losses resulting directly from illegal activities in the African maritime sector add up to hundreds of billions of US dollars, without counting the loss of human lives.
The integrated African strategy for seas and oceans for 2050 (AIM 2050 Strategy) takes into account not only the significant potential that the African maritime sector possesses in terms of the creation of wealth, but also the fact that the Member States of the African Union share common maritime opportunities and challenges, which means that, as many as they are, they also share a major role to play in promoting the political commitment needed to implement this strategy.