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Beyond Pirates and Drugs: Unlocking Africa's Maritime Potential and Economic Development

Authors: Mthuli Ncube, African Development Bank Group, and Michael L. Baker
March 2011
African Security Review

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Abstract

Although African leaders are coming together to discuss improving maritime security measures, the authors of this paper argue that they are giving too little attention to revolutionising the African maritime commercial sector. African states need to dramatically increase their gross domestic product in order to reduce poverty, improve the level of health and education, and build and sustain their security forces. But development approaches usually focus exclusively on land-centric projects such as agriculture. It is Africa's maritime sector, however, that holds back significant growth due to shortfalls in maritime infrastructure, regulations and security; it is therefore essential that growth and development plans begin to include the maritime sector. The authors propose that the African Union and the International Maritime Organisation should step forward to help African states revolutionise their maritime sectors through the implementation of an African maritime growth initiative that aims to boost African production and trade through the improvement of maritime infrastructure, efficiency, governance and security. They maintain that a modern, efficient, transparent and well-governed maritime sector could unlock the potential of African production and usher in an era in which the African market contributes significantly to a promising future of African prosperity.

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