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Quadrilateral cooperation: Angola, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa

Wayne JumatThe increasing scourge of piracy, human trafficking, drug trafficking, illegal fishing and arms and munitions smuggling poses a significant question about the need for an enhanced and integrated maritime security response, particularly in the South Atlantic.

A quadrilateral cooperation between South Africa, Brazil, Angola and Nigeria focusing on maritime security, will go a long way in addressing the current proliferating insecurity in the South Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea, especially with regards to piracy.

The South Atlantic Ocean is increasingly being considered as a development platform, in addition to being a trade route, rich in resources and an important geo-economic space. Due to the interconnectivity of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as the interconnectivity of trade and political relations between South America, Africa and India, the South Atlantic functions as a platform for the creation of strategic partnerships particularly of a South-South nature.1

Maritime security in the South Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea becomes even more important due to the increase in trade between states from Latin America, Europe and Africa. Brazil is the largest Latin American trading partner of South Africa, Nigeria and Angola, in terms of export and import.2 3 Angola and Nigeria's largest African export and import destination in Africa is South Africa.4 South Africa's largest export destination in Africa is Nigeria while Angola comes in at fourth place.5 Therefore maritime security is vital in sustainable development and in securing safe passages for trade vessels that are either exporting or importing goods.

South Africa, Nigeria and Angola are member states of Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) and IBSAMAR (India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime) respectively. The amount of trade that exists between these states elevates the importance of maritime security and the protection of trading vessels, particularly in consideration of the huge Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) that has to be patrolled and secured by these states. The states' membership to these organisations and groupings, as well as their concerns of maritime security and piracy, requires the adoption of a maritime security strategy consistent with the prevailing situation in the Gulf of Guinea, South Atlantic and Southern Oceans, as well as the alignment of regional approaches to maritime security and governance.

It is recognised that South Africa has contributed to operationalising the SADC Maritime Security Strategy (SADC MSS), the Djibouti Code of Conduct and the African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIMS 2050) in support of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 and the International Maritime Organisation Safety of Life at Sea Convention.6 These maritime security strategies are important for South Africa, particularly, as it is an 'island economy',7 which refers to South Africa's reliance on imports and exports via the oceans, is to safeguard the shipping and trading lanes that ships use in order to safeguard its economy and to deal with threats to its economy.

South Africa's geostrategic location, important maritime resources and its significant maritime interaction are vital to understanding South Africa's maritime and naval capabilities. South Africa's potential involvement in quadrilateral maritime security cooperation with Brazil, Nigeria and Angola, is given more credence due to its involvement in formations such as IBSAMAR and the Atlantic South (ATLASUR) composed of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and South Africa.8

Brazil and South Africa possess the largest maritime capability and naval capacities in their respective continents and therefore play integral roles in their continental and regional maritime security strategies. Although Brazil and South Africa have the largest and best regional naval capacities, they cannot ensure the maritime security of their respective regions alone, neither are they able to function efficiently and effectively without the help of their neighbouring states due to the large surface area and maritime borders that have to be patrolled. Both states are also signatories to regional maritime strategies, which indicate that their respective maritime strategies have to be aligned to their respective regional or continental strategies to navigate past potential flash points or misunderstandings with their neighbours.

South Africa and Angola, as littoral SADC members, are integral to the SADC MSS and the AIMS-2050. South Africa, in fact, lead the development of the SADC MSS that was endorsed by the SADC's Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in June 2011 and reinforced by the 31st SADC Summit of the Heads of State in Luanda, Angola, on 9 August 2011.9 The SADC MSS cites the following objectives in descending order of concern: (1) the eradication of Somali piracy of Southern Africa, (2) securing Southern Africa's west coast and (3) securing Southern Africa's vast rivers and lakes (Congo River, Lake Tanganyika) that are vital to trade and development.10

Angola, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil also act as trade-transit states, which is of significant importance to African land-locked states' economies, particularly land-locked states that require the export of their commodities and importation of goods. This requires a consistent and considerate approach to cooperation with littoral states in safeguarding not only their trade routes as well as their relationships with littoral states.

The following figures display the number of illegal or suspicious maritime activities that has occurred during 2013 and during 2014, in the Gulf of Guinea and South Atlantic Ocean.

Quadrilateral cooperation_Angola_Brazil_Nigeria_and_South_Africa_firgure_1
Figure 1.0 Piracy and Armed Robbery Map 2013. Available: http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map/piracy-map-2013

 

Quadrilateral cooperation_Angola_Brazil_Nigeria_and_South_Africa_figure_2
Figure 1.1 Piracy & Armed Robbery Map 2014. Available: http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map  [Accessed 18/04/2014]

The increasing frequency of illegal maritime movements and activities in these regions therefore advances the need to entrench maritime security, in protection of the interests of littoral and land-locked states of Southern Africa, West Africa and Latin America.

A potential quadrilateral dialogue comprising South Africa, Brazil, Angola and Nigeria can contribute to securing the trading lanes used by these states, reducing piracy and illegal fishing as well as combating human and drug trafficking through cooperation. Additionally the convergence of interests, with regards to maritime security, human and drug trafficking, the blue economy and trade between these four states, as well as cultural and political ties, is significant enough to establish a strong and practical South-South trans-Southern Atlantic cooperation in the interests of furthering relationships pertaining to the economy, political and social sectors.


1Pereira, A. D. 2013. The South Atlantic, Southern Africa and South America: Cooperation and Development. Available: http://seer.ufrgs.br/austral/article/download/41304/26966 ‎ [Accessed: 22/04/2014]

2OEC-ANG. 2014. Learn more about trade in Angola. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/ago/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

3OEC-SA. 2014. Learn more about trade in South Africa. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/zaf/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

4OEC-ANG. 2014. Learn more about trade in Angola. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/ago/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

5OEC-SA. 2014. Learn more about trade in South Africa. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/zaf/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

6SA-DEF. 2013. South African Defence Review. Department of Defence Pg 7-5 – Pg 7-6

7SA-DEF. 2013.South African Defence Review.Department of Defence.

8Potgieter, T. 2013. Changing Paradigms: South Africa and Maritime Security in the Indian and Southern Oceans. Manganyi, C., Liebenberg, I. and Potgieter, T. Just Done Productions. Pg 267

9Rear-Admiral R.W. Higgs. Keynote Address On The Occasion Of "Conference On Brics and Africa: A Partnership For Sustainable Development". Republic Of South Africa. Available: http://www.saiia.org.za/doc_download/426-bricsafricaconf2013-s4-keynote-admiral  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

10Coelho, J.P. 2013. African Approaches to maritime Security: Southern Africa. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Mozambique. Pg 13

References
Chathamhouse. 2012. Angola and the Gulf of Guinea. Towards an integrated maritime strategy. Available: http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Africa/1112confreport.pdf 

Coelho, J.P. 2013. African Approaches to maritime Security: Southern Africa. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Mozambique.

Nigeria. 2014. Nigeria Exports, major trade partners. Open Data for Africa [Online]. Available: http://nigeria.opendataforafrica.org/boiqhbg/nigeria-exports-major-trade-partners  [Accessed: 21/04/2014]

OEC-ANG. 2014. Learn more about trade in Angola. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/ago/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

OEC-BRA. 2014. Learn more about trade in Brazil. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/bra/ [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

OEC-SA. 2014. Learn more about trade in South Africa. Observatory of Economic Complexity. Available: http://atlas.media.mit.edu/profile/country/zaf/  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

Pereira, A. D. 2013. The South Atlantic, Southern Africa and South America: Cooperation and Development. Available: http://seer.ufrgs.br/austral/article/download/41304/26966 ‎ [Accessed: 22/04/2014]

Potgieter, T. 2013. Changing Paradigms: South Africa and Maritime Security in the Indian and Southern Oceans. Manganyi, C., Liebenberg, I. and Potgieter, T. Just Done Productions.

Rear-Admiral R.W. Higgs. Keynote Address On The Occasion Of "Conference on BRICS and Africa: A Partnership for Sustainable Development". Republic Of South Africa. Available: http://www.saiia.org.za/doc_download/426-bricsafricaconf2013-s4-keynote-admiral  [Accessed: 17/04/2014]

SA-DEF. 2013. South African Defence Review. Department of Defence.

Acts
UNCLOS. 1982. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Part V Exclusive Economic Zone. [Online]. Available: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/part5.htm  [Accessed 25/04/2014]

Figures
Figure 1.0IMB Piracy & Armed Robbery Map 2013. Available: http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map/piracy-map-2013  [Accessed: 18/04/2014]

Figure 1.1 IMB Piracy and Armed Robbery Map 2014. Available: http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map [Accessed 18/04/2014]

 

 

 

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