The South African Navy (SAN) is hosting a symposium to highlight the role the that newly-instituted “Seapower for Africa” Symposia are playing in identifying, prioritising and resolving the maritime issues of Africa, focusing on the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium.
The Chiefs of the navies or their representatives of coastal and inland navies from 31 African countries, together with twelve observers from international navies, will attend the symposium in Cape Town during March. The theme for the symposium is “Towards Effective Maritime Governance for Africa”.
The “Seapower for Africa” Symposium concept was initiated by Chiefs of Navies of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa at the International Sea Power Symposium held in 2003 at Rhode Island, USA.
The inaugural Sea Power for Africa Symposium was held in Cape Town in August 2005 and was followed by the second Symposium in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2006.
The Chief of the SAN, Vice Admiral Refiloe Mudimu, said “the focus of these symposia has been the establishment of a collective approach to collaboration and co-operation to address the maritime challenges that face Africa.”
The results have been positive and this is evident from the marked increase of African Navies attending these symposia since its inauguration and the interest displayed by international Navies to attend these ongoing symposia. In other words the momentum is being successfully maintained,” continued Mudimu.
“This third symposium will once again provide the opportunity to reassess the challenges we face in the maritime domain, review our adopted resolutions, further improve co-operation and relations and plot our way forward.”
Resolutions are collectively adopted at the symposia.
Approximately 95% of all the worlds trade is conducted via the sea. The maritime challenges facing the navies of Africa are many and range from poaching, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and other activities of organised crime syndicates.
According to Mudimu, “for this reason the navies of Africa must be equipped for effective sea control. This means that the navies, coast guards and marines of Africa must be given the requisite capability to enforce sea control.”
It is because of the above that the Symposium is being held. The papers are presented at the symposium are of two types. Those that point to a lacuna in Africa`s maritime condition and those that propose or are doing something about an issue.
Issues that are included in the resolutions include the need to co-operate in the fight against maritime crime and piracy, the requirement to co-operate in maritime training and to operationalise collaborative, multi-national utilization and interoperability of naval assets.
Eight papers will be presented, with six presenters from Africa, one from India and one from Brazil. Both Brazil and India are development partner countries. Brazil is sending the landing ship, BNS Garcia D`Avila (former Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Sir Galahad) in support, to be in Cape Town over the period of the symposium.
Over 250 delegates will be in attendance, with seventeen defence/maritime sector companies exhibiting at the Symposium.
The Third Sea Power Symposium will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 9 to 11 March 2009.