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The South African Navy and African Maritime Security

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Journal Article

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Naval War College Newport United States

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The onset of pirate attacks on merchant vessels off the Horn of Africa in recent years has put Africas maritime security increasingly in the international spotlight. Recent times have also seen the advent of the African Union and with it a commitment to African solutions to African problems. Despite this, African states have made little active contribution to securing Africas maritime domains. Yet, as the scholar and analyst Augustus Vogel, of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., points out, doing so is vitally important to Africa illegal fishing undercuts Africas economic development and exacerbates its food security challenges piracy makes badly needed trade and investment in Africa more risky and expensive the continent is becoming an increasingly active drug trafficking hub the growing drug trade, in turn, is giving international criminal syndicates a foothold within certain African governments, weakening their ability to address other national priorities and illegal commerce such a soil bunkering, transport of counterfeit materials, and theft impacts legitimate businesses and world markets. In short, many of Africas emerging threats arrive by sea.1Most glaring has been the lack of a significant contribution by the South African Navy SAN, arguably sub-Saharan Africas most capable naval force.

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