The Committee of Permanent Representatives (PRC) of the African Union on Tuesday adopted the Lome Charter on Safety, Security and Development in Africa; ahead of the summit of Heads of State on maritime safety planned this Saturday in the Togolese capital.
The document is expected to provide Africa with a mechanism to develop a legal and technical framework for prevention and fight against threats on African maritime spaces.
It includes threats such as armed robbery, assault, piracy, various illegal trafficking, illegal fishing, pollution, and also illegal immigration.
“We are pleased that the Executive Board can finally examine the charter while taking into account the observations and comments that some delegations had made on the charter,” said the President of the PRC,Cherif Mahamat Zene.
“The text deals with crucial issues both in the economic, security as well as development. This is why many member states felt that there are many aspects that are not there or are not adequately covered, including trade, infrastructure and economic development,” the PRC head added.
The Gulf of Guinea has become the epicenter of maritime piracy in Africa in the Indian Ocean, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
This is seen as a real threat to the economies in the region that derive 20% of their budgets from maritime revenue.
Already, the coastal states of West Africa are losing each year, about $1.3 billion due to illegal fishing according to non-profit organisation Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).
The Charter of Lome is expected to be adopted by the foreign ministers while the final document will be finally submitted to the heads of state for final adoption on October 15th.