Africa has raised international awareness for the general deterioration of maritime security and emphasised the trans-boundary nature of maritime threat, especially with regards to the legal challenges of asserting and exercising jurisdiction. The first section of this paper will show that, in the case of West and Central Africa there is a correlation between the unprecedented and rapid rise of maritime threat and the growth in resource exploitation, military expenditure and the geographical and historical context. The discussion will overview the typology and underline the severity of maritime attack in the area by way of the resultant new risk index allocation by the Lloyds Joint War Committee's Listed Areas. The second part of the paper will examine the 2003, IMO and MOWCA Integrated Coastguard Network concept and will detail the need for such an approach, the current situation and the solutions necessary to speed its progress. The article will also consider the importance of stronger and more robust structures for bringing into play multi-national and inter-agency partnerships that can be drawn on to support African Nations in suppressing asymmetric threats, and will conclude with a discussion relating to the identification and assessment of technological capability gaps and long-term requirements in West and Central Africa for increased situational awareness in territorial waters.
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