Nineteen coastal countries stretching from Senegal to Angola have started working together in a joint effort at fighting crime at sea.
The European Union project, Gulf of Guinea Interregional Network (GOGIN), starts operations today. The €9.2m, four-year programme will support participating countries in developing joint planning, coordination, communication and IT infrastructure at a national, regional and interregional level.
“I’m delighted to be here in Yaoundé today to officially kick-start GOGIN after several months of fine-tuning with my African colleagues,” said Vice Admiral (Ret) and GOGIN team leader Jean-Pierre Labonne. “Our long-term aim is to support peace, stability and economic and human development throughout West and Central Africa. My team and I will spare no effort to make GOGIN a success.”
GOGIN is a tangible outcome of the Code of Conduct on the repression of piracy, armed robbery against ships, and illicit maritime activity in West and Central Africa that was adopted at the June 2013 Summit of Heads of State in Yaoundé – also known as the Yaoundé Process. The project is co-funded by the European Union and by the government of Denmark; it is implemented by Expertise France, the French international technical cooperation agency.
The programme covers a massive area, including 6,000 kilometres of coastline and the adjacent waters from Senegal in the north to Angola in the south, as well as the archipelagos of Cape Verde and Sao Tome & Principe. The area is rife with criminal or illegitimate activity — from piracy, kidnappings and armed robbery at sea; to the trafficking in drugs, human beings, timber, arms and waste; illegal fishing and oil theft.
GOGIN underpins the Yaoundé Process by joining up existing national and multinational maritime security centres, coordinated by two Regional Coordination Centres in Abidjan and in Pointe Noire and capped by an Interregional Coordination Centre in Yaoundé.