SA Navy in attendance at IMDEC 2023 in Ghana

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South African Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese, is one of the dignitaries attending the third International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEC 2023) this week in Ghana.

Lobese was on 29 August scheduled to speak in a presentation to over 700 attendees from more than 70 countries – further South African participation came from Stellenbosch University Professor Francois Vrey, who was marked down for a panel discussion on cyber security and underwater infrastructure today.

IMDEC 2023, hosted by the Ghana Navy on 29 and 30 August, was inaugurated by Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo at a new dedicated exhibition hall at Burma Camp within the Ghana Armed Forces Headquarters in Accra.

The organisers said that Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, Chief of Naval Staff, Ghana Navy, highlighted the significance of IMDEC in strategically uniting key stakeholders within Africa’s maritime sphere and said, “IMDEC serves as a platform to reflect on our accomplishments and chart the course for a prosperous maritime future. The blue economy offers solutions to numerous economic challenges in Africa if properly harnessed. To realize its potential, we must ensure our maritime space is safe and secure for business and shipping as advancements in onboard systems and rapid digital transformation require African navies to implement measures to safeguard their systems and operations.”

Several panel discussions, such as “Regional Collaboration to Secure the Gulf of Guinea: The Concept of Combined Maritime Task Force (CMTF-GoG)” and “Enhancing Collaboration between Maritime Administration and Navies and Coast Guards in the Gulf of Guinea,” underscored the importance of regional collaboration in maritime security. Key stakeholders, including representatives from the Nigerian Navy, Cape Verde Coast Guard, and Sierra Leone Naval Staff, addressed collaborative approaches to safeguard the Gulf of Guinea’s maritime interests.

Other topics under discussion include “Governing and Resourcing the Maritime Sector to Optimize the Benefits of the Blue Economy: The Case of the Nigerian Deep Blue Project,” with input from the likes of Dr Bashir Jamoh from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

Industry participation included exhibits and presentations from Aselsan, STM, Israel Shipyards, Satlantis, Heyl Group, and AeroVironment, who covered everything from satellite observation to unmanned aerial vehicles, combat systems, and ship repair and maintenance.

The organisers, Great Mind Events, said the conference aims to reiterate the commitment of stakeholders to advancing Africa’s maritime industry: “IMDEC serves as a nexus of knowledge and progress, setting the course for a safer, more secure maritime environment.”