Sub-Saharan Africa is persistently vulnerable to maritime threats, even without naval wars in adjoining waters. Reasons include an inability to optimize maritime resources for economic growth, ongoing distractions arising from continental political instabilities, and a general aversion to the development of maritime power. Such a cultural orientation has significant disadvantages for Africa.
An increase in international maritime economic activities has further exposed the limitations of safety and security in waters adjacent to Africa. In the Gulf of Guinea during the past decade, increasing piracy, theft of crude oil, and militancy have threatened more than $50 billion of exploration investment by local and foreign companies.1 A recent estimate puts the annual loss due to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in African waters at about $1 billion.2