Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea

Why has the Gulf of Guinea replaced the Horn of Africa as the global center for maritime piracy? According to experts convened by the International Peace Institute, the reasons include economic deprivation, poor governance, pollution, poor natural resources management, and the ongoing crisis in the Sahel region.

Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea: Assessing the Threats, Preparing the Response

By Mireille Mindzie and Fiona Blyth for International Peace Institute (IPI)

This article was originally published as an IPI Meeting Note by the International Peace Institute on 16 January 2014. Read the PDF version here.


The International Peace Institute convened a roundtable discussion on “Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea: Assessing the Threats, Preparing the Response” on June 6, 2013, in New York. The meeting aimed to help develop a better understanding of the peace and security challenges facing the Gulf of Guinea by examining the multifaceted threats to the stability of the region; considering national, regional, and international responses to these threats; and providing practical policy recommendations with a view to strengthening regional and international responses.

The roundtable discussion was organized into two panels. The first panel identified and assessed the current and emerging peace and security threats in the Gulf of Guinea. The panelists outlined the key drivers of instability in the region and highlighted the interconnected and transnational nature of many of these factors. The second panel examined the efforts planned or underway to address these peace and security challenges, paying particular attention to the role played by regional and subregional organizations. The panelists considered the constraints and obstacles these organizations face in addressing these challenges and offered recommendations for strengthening cooperation among them as well as with global institutions.

The participants highlighted the multifaceted nature of insecurity factors in the Gulf of Guinea. Piracy and maritime insecurity are some of the symptoms of growing regional insecurity, but the triggers can be attributed to economic deprivation and exclusion, poor governance and limited legitimacy, pollution, natural resources management, as well as the impact of the crisis in the Sahel region and the spread of transnational crime. Joint efforts are being developed to address these challenges, which promote innovative cross-regional cooperation initiatives. However, beyond the resources allocated to the fight against maritime insecurity, additional and more holistic efforts are……[access full article]

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