Seychelles emphasises experience in Information Sharing as the Key in reinforcing maritime security in Africa
Seychelles has emphasised the importance of information sharing as a means of ensuring long term solutions to maritime security in Africa at the 4th EU-Africa Summit being held in Brussels.
Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, joined his African colleagues at a High Level Security Event in Brussels organised by Baroness Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.
Speaking at the event, Minister Adam stressed that information sharing was one of three pillars that had to be reinforced as part of enhanced future cooperation between the EU and Africa. The other two pillars being strengthening of the rule of law in the region and building more resilient economies in the region such as through initiatives such as the ‘Blue Economy’
Minister Adam stressed that the country would not have been able to combat the scourge of piracy without the assistance from the international community, especially the presence of coordinated military activity in the region for which the Seychelles government was very appreciative.
“Seychelles experience has shown that a lot can be achieved in reinforcing security through partnerships. With a population of only 90,000, securing our EEZ of 1.3 million square kilometers is only possible through dependable and durable partnerships. We are pleased to have such a partnership with the EU. We must now build on this by enhancing information sharing, reinforcing the rule of law in the region and building resilient economic activities in the region”, the Minister remarked.
Seychelles also offered to share its experiences both within the region, and as the basis of using best practices to tackle the emergence of piracy in other regions as witnessed in the Gulf of Guinea, and the EU and the AU Commission agreed to facilitate this.
The event held in the margin of the 4th Africa – European Union Summit, brought together African Ministers of Foreign Affairs of countries being affected by piracy activities. The main objective of the event was to exchange views on maritime and security matters as well as discuss possible ways to stop the threat from spreading.
The meeting noted that the total economic cost of piracy in the Horn of Africa is estimated at over 4.3 billion Euros per year and costing Seychelles almost 4% of the GDP in 2009.
The Seychelles Foreign Minister also added that where maritime security is concerned there should be no room for complacency and that ending impunity and installing the rule of law in the Horn of Africa should be one of the main priorities of the countries in the region.
The Minister further emphasised the necessity for information sharing as the key to further enhance the deterrence of international maritime criminal activities. He noted the major role played by Seychelles in this area with the setting up of the RAPICC in February 2013 and which is now enhancing its role in terms of maritime security as a whole and hence its evolution into the REFLECS 3 platform.
“The progression from RAPICC to the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS), is an indication of the progress being made and the innovative approach towards more regional involvement. Maritime Security will remain a challenge to the continent unless together we are also prepared to fight social ills such as poverty and youth unemployment. We therefore commend the efforts of the EU which has helped us improve the situation, while also urging that more is committed in order to create the environment that would lead to investment in social infrastructure and employment creation activities in Somalia that would then turn impoverished population away from criminal activities,” remarked the Minister.
The Minister also commended the Somali government for its efforts in turning the tide against piracy and criminal activities in general as well as its sustained efforts to fight the extremism of terrorist groups such as Al Shabab. He thanked the Somali government for putting in place the framework for prisoner transfers from Seychelles, and thus ensuring that a clear message of ending impunity was jointly sent by the two governments.
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