TOPIC 4 Integrating MDA in Africa Maritime Security Architecture

1.     Africa’s maritime area is endowed with one of the world’s largest reserves of fisheries and mineral resources whilst also facilitating maritime commerce across the vast expanses of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Pertinently, most littoral states are not able to effectively monitor their maritime domain, respond to threats and enforce relevant laws resulting in inability to optimally harvest and prevent unprecedented resource theft and other criminalities. These limitations are further compounded by the sheer expanse of the area to be monitored and inadequate equipment and patrol boats, among others. Imperatively, littoral states will have to consider a technology-led approach via the deployment of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) infrastructure to mitigate the identified shortcomings. Specifically, with MDA, states could identify, evaluate, monitor and track threats to enable surgical response at significantly lower costs relative to the old-fashioned practice of general maritime policing and patrols. Consequently, the importance of MDA infrastructure and regional collaboration to optimize its benefits therefore led to efforts by the United Nations and the African Union to foster regional MDA collaboration, regional surveillance, joint patrols as well as facilitation of hot-pursuit across national boundaries.

Falcon Eye Regional Maritime Surveillance System

2.      Arising from the foregoing, whilst the benefits of functional MDA infrastructure is not in doubt, the relatively slow pace of adoption and regional collaboration have prevented the full exploitation of the potentials of the system. Specifically, rather than a seamless and harmonized collaborative MDA network, what exists is a patchwork of MDA coverage with several blind spots. The unfortunate effect has been lack of synergy in tackling common maritime threats. It is therefore on this basis that the paper is address the following:

  1. Roles of MDA Infrastructure in Tackling Maritime Security Challenges in Africa.
  2. Efforts by African Countries to emplace MDA Infrastructures vis-a-vis impact on Ocean Governance.
  3. Stocktaking of MDA Infrastructure.
  4. Challenges to Integrating National MDA Infrastructures.
  5. Options for Optimization of MDA Coverage.

Presentation Paper : Topic 4

TOPICS FOR PRESENTATION The 6 topics for presentation at the SPAS 2021 and the respective focus areas are further discussed.


National Hydrographic Capacities As Catalyst For Credible Ocean Governance


Tackling Emerging Maritime Security Challenges through Collaborative Regional Framework


Ocean Governance and the Blue Economy: The Critical Nexus



Integrating MDA in Africa Maritime Security Architecture


Legal Imperatives of Delimiting African Waters


African Regional Maritime Cooperation: Challenges and Future Perspectives

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