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Toward an African Maritime Economy: Empowering the African Union to Revolutionize the African Maritime Sector

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Journal Article

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Council on Foreign Relations Washington United States

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The high profile of Somali piracy has brought the issue of African maritime security to the attention of world leaders and citizens. This crisis, however, is not the only challenge facing Africa in the maritime rather, it is a symptom of a much deeper problemthat Africa suffers from weak maritime governance and the lack of a harmonizing vision for an African maritime economy. Every year in Africa billions of dollars worth of fish is illegally captured, billions of dollars worth of drugs and arms are shipped overseas, pirates capture and hold for ransom hundreds of mariners operating commercial and private vessels, bandits steal maritime oil worth billions of dollars, and thousands of liters of waste are illegally dumped. Some of these crimes flow into Africa from abroadincluding much of the illegal fishing and narcotics trafficking, while others such as piracy go from the inside out. These nefarious activities are global in their reach and require global action if we hope to eliminate their impact.

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