Regional Approaches to Maritime Security in the Horn of Africa

This study argues that efforts to improve maritime security in the Horn of Africa region have assumed a certain pattern whereby the concerns and perspective of the developed world have tended to overshadow the agenda of the states in the region.

This dichotomy between the above mentioned actors reveals itself for instance in the interpretation of sources of maritime insecurity, the focus of initiatives and the informal "division of tasks" in the sphere of maritime security that has emerged in the region. The study argues that for the international community the primary concern and threat is piracy. On the other hand, states and non-state actors in the region have a more complex and structural view of the nature of maritime insecurity in the Horn of Africa. The study shows that this has led to a situation where immense resources and efforts have been directed to the fight against piracy while other sources of maritime insecurity have been sidelined. The efforts and initiatives against piracy have been characterized by a duplication of efforts and competition between different agencies and entities.

While the efforts against piracy have achieved impressive results, this has been achieved in a context where regional interests and initiatives have been sidelined.States in the region and the primary regionalorganization, the IGAD, have repeatedly tried to articulate a distinct agenda and set of interests in the sphere of maritime security but practically speaking they have also had to adapt to the circumstances. This study shows that the governments in the region have cooperated with international initiatives and in the process garner resources and benefits derived from the global focus on piracy off the coast of Somalia.

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