Publication site : The Economist Intelligence Unit
Date of publication : 2019
Type of publication : Article
In mid-January the president, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, called for military co‑operation between Cabo Verde and the other states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which comprises 15 West African states including Cabo Verde. Mr Fonseca is also the supreme commander of the Forças Armadas Cabo Verdeanas (FACV, the Cabo Verdean armed forces). He called for the FACV to collaborate with the armed forces in the ECOWAS region to fight common threats that the region faces—terrorism, the trafficking of people, weapons and drugs, and maritime piracy, among others. These problems are prevalent in the Gulf of Guinea but they are also severely affecting Cabo Verde’s security.
The archipelago has a coastline that is especially vulnerable to maritime piracy because of Cabo Verde’s poor infrastructure
The archipelago has a coastline that is especially vulnerable to maritime piracy because of Cabo Verde’s poor infrastructure, a lack of monitoring and falling international oil prices, which is forcing criminals to switch away from stealing oil as that has become less lucrative. The number of violent incidents at sea, including kidnappings and robberies, has been increasing over the past few years. According to a US‑based group, Oceans Beyond Piracy, the total number of incidents of piracy and robbery in the West African region almost doubled between 2015 and 2017. However, among these, the number of failed attacks also increased, indicating that the security in the region has been improving. The Cabo Verdean authorities clearly hope that military co‑operation in the region will further improve security at sea and help to prevent maritime piracy.
Cabo Verde already has joint agreements with the US military and with the EU, which have been fairly successful in reducing drug-trafficking and maritime piracy. A successful collaboration with armed forces in the ECOWAS region will help to improve maritime security in the region for Cabo Verde and other common threats that they face. However, progress is likely to be slow as Cabo Verde’s government does not have sufficient resources to spend more on anti-piracy security missions. The FACV also does not have the logistical capabilities to monitor and control the territory in their exclusive economic zone. The country also needs to develop a legal framework and regulations to combat the rise in piracy.
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