Increasing maritime awareness has already delivered impact, but consistency and continental leadership are needed to realize the sector's full potential.
Africa's 48,000 kilometres of coastline, shared among 38 coastal states, are resource rich and hold some of the world's most strategic sea lanes, including the approaches to the Suez Canal, which carries 12 per cent of worldwide trade, and the Gulf of Guinea, a critical route for global energy. But despite the vast potential this represents, piracy and maritime insecurity have dominated the narrative of Africa's coasts, and further propagated the image of African states as beholden to external intervention.
Yet African agency is established and evolving in the sector, with African littoral states enhancing their capacity to face collective security threats and exercising increasing autonomy in responding to the recent rush of external actors looking for port facilities and military bases. Enhanced continental coordination, consistency and leadership can help Africa's maritime endowment become a resource that can bring sustainable benefit across the continent.
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