ADDIS ABABA, July 23 (Xinhua) — The African Union (AU) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to reinforce joint efforts of addressing maritime security and safety along the Gulf of Guinea.
According to an AU statement on Friday, the agreement includes operationalization of the integrated strategy for the Seas and Oceans Horizon 2050, dubbed AIM Strategy 2050, and the strategy of the Blue Economy of the 55-member pan-African bloc.
Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and Florentina Ukonga, the Executive Secretary for Gulf of Guinea Commission signed the MoU Thursday at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, reaffirming the new dynamic within the AU to strengthen intra-African collaboration, toward effective implementation of policies affecting Africa’s maritime space.
“This agreement is indeed long overdue,” said Adeoye, indicating that it would strengthen coordinated efforts of AU member states to address critical issues on Africa’s blue economy and maritime security across Central and West Africa, while safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of the African people, especially those in the coastal regions.
Welcoming the new partnership, Florentina Ukonga said her Commission would work very closely with AU, to scale up continental interventions to mitigate piracy and other forms of criminality and economic exploitation on the high seas of Africa.
“This is indeed a great day for Africa as our Member States pay closer attention to maritime governance with the aim to protect our seas and our people who must primarily benefit from Africa’s maritime resources,” said the Executive Secretary.
Some eight coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea make up the Commission created in 2001 to serve as a permanent institutional instrument of cooperation at a regional level between the states bordering the Gulf of Guinea to defend their common interests.