African economies stand a huge chance of growing significantly if the Gulf of Guinea is protected from the activities of pirates and illegal trade.
Every year the Gulf of Guinea serves as a trade route amounting to over $1 billion countries globally transport goods across the Atlantic.
Many of the vessels that travel across the Gulf of Guinea serve African countries, transporting to and from them.
70 percent of Africa’s trade with European Union takes place by sea. Significant oil resources from Africa are also transported via the Gulf of Guinea.
Locals in countries along the sea also engage in fishing activities, all serving as crucial elements of blue economy for these countries.
But attacks on the Gulf of Guinea where ships and vessels are hijacked and ransoms demanded means countries along it risk losing a lot of resources.
That also means insurance rates will go up on goods transported across the Gulf of Guinea. So making the sea safer has become crucial according to African nations.
G7++Friends of the Gulf of Guinea Group members during a meeting in Accra discussed ways of protecting the sea and making it safer.
The Accra meeting was jointly chaired by Major Derek Oduro (rtd), Deputy Minister of Defence, and Mrs Genevieve Darrieussecq, the Secretary of State to the French Minister for the Armed Force.
Objective of the G7 Friends of the Gulf of Guinea
The objective of the group is to assist the Gulf of Guinea countries in reforming the security of their maritime areas.
The group also hopes to harmonize the various legal frameworks in the fight against maritime crime and strengthen inter-state cooperation as well as promote the blue economy.
Richard Young from the European Union said “there are big issues in terms of over fishing, there are issues related to smuggling and trafficking of arms and people, and there are issues related to pollution.”
He said due to the implications for livelihoods of people in countries along the Gulf of Guinea, preventing illegal activities on the sea will be crucial.
Ghana’s deputy defence minister, Major Derek Oduro (RTD) revealed that Ghana is partnering various countries to fight pirates and ensure that the threats on the Gulf of Guinea is minimized.
He said the 2019 G7 Friends of the Gulf of Guinea conference is meant to “mobilize support across the world to make sure that Gulf of Guinea is secured, Gulf of Guinea is safe.”
Yaoundé Code of Conduct
Mrs Darrieussecq said France was hoping to work within the G7 ++FoGG towards creating coherence to ensure that international partners support the implementation of Yaoundé Code of Conduct Architecture.
The Code of Conduct is to help member countries to act effectively in aiding the protection of the Gulf of Guinea.
Ghanaian security agencies continue to be assisted by countries like France to train its officials to combat any high sea criminal activities.
Organizers of the G7 Friends of the Gulf of Guinea conference are hopeful the 2019 edition hosted by Ghana provided various opportunities for collaboration among countries to protect the Gulf of Guinea.