At various 2019 senior leader seminars for the “Express” series of naval exercises in East and West Africa, something was different. As in years past, the senior leaders of navies and coast guards from around the continent were present, and recognized international experts presented on topics relevant to those senior leaders. This time, however, most of the experts were African.
Over the past two years, a discernable trend has become increasingly visible in engagements in Africa on maritime security. “Capacity building” used to mean North Americans and Europeans coming to the continent, sometimes for the first time, to tell Africans how to secure, govern and develop their waters. Now a new phenomenon is taking hold: Africa-to-Africa capacity building.