|Leaders of Central and West African states ended security in the Gulf of Guinea summit on 25 June 2-13|
Leaders of West and Central African state failed Tuesday to
adopt a binding accord to fight piracy and other crimes in the Gulf of Guinea
at the end two days of negotiations in Yaounde.
A strong multinational convention was put off until 2016 and
replaced by a transitional code of conduct – a non-binding political instrument
– and an equally non-binding Yaounde declaration.
But the leaders agreed to create an inter-regional center
to coordinate the fight against rising maritime crime, which would be hosted by
Cameroon in Yaounde.
Thirteen presidents and a vice president attended the
summit, the first high level meeting to discuss the problem of insecurity in
the resource-rich and strategic hub for international trade.
Piracy has been growing I the region over the past years
and reached the peak last year with the International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
reporting attacks on nearly 1000 sailors, turning the region into a “hellhole.”
Wide ranging crimes in the region include fuel bunkering,
drug/human trafficking, illegal fishing, and hostage taking. Continental
attacks by pirates have targeted banks in Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial
“Maritime piracy poses a
serious threat to the peace and stability of our States,” President Paul Biya
said at the start of the Summit. “It undermines the people’s development and
“How can our
countries progress if somehow our waters became too dangerous for
the free movement of people and goods? How would our towns be safe if pirates
flood them with drugs and weapons? How can we navigate the Gulf of Guinea
waters in constant fear of being killed or taken hostage?
“That is unacceptable, for
the Gulf of Guinea would then cease being a safe bosom on Africa’s shapely and
curvy body, to become a hellhole.”
Part of the plan agreed upon in Yaounde is to raise funds
to deal with the problem. Regional leaders also highlighted the role of
coordinated and integrated action, involving international organizations and non-GOG
Idriss Deby, the chairman of the Economic Commission of Central African States
(Eccas) said there was “no price too big for security” in scanty remarks during
a post-summit press conference.
"Though an expensive venture, we are convinced that there is no
price-too big for security. That is why we embark on this expensive yet
necessary venture,” he said