Regional—Technical Assistance to the Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) Project

Client: European Union and ECOWAS Commission

Duration: 2019-2024

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: West Africa, Mauritania

Solutions: Governance

The Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria, and Niger Delta suffer from major and regular maritime insecurity that range from piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping to illegal oil bunkering, trafficking, and smuggling.

The Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) programme was a multi-country intervention, covering member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the European Union-West Africa regional Indicative Programme—Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, as well as Mauritania with a specific focus on coastal countries.

Our project supported the SWAIMS programme to improve maritime security and safety in the Gulf of Guinea. Among its successes, the project strengthened integrated maritime governance, facilitated joint operations in Gambia and Sierra Leone, and helped finalize Liberia’s Maritime Security Strategy. SWAIMS’ maritime security workshops trained more than 300 professionals.

Sample Activities

  • Strengthen integrated maritime governance, policies, laws, and systems to support maritime security.
  • Assess the impact of illicit financial circuits generated by maritime crime.
  • Strengthen regional operational training.
  • Improve coordination with the private sector and participation of civil society in fighting maritime insecurity.

Sample Results

  • Supported the preparation of the background material for the grant to ECOWAS Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), and the preparation of the background material for the grants to Académie Régionale des Sciences et Techniques de la Mer (ARSTM), Interregional Maritime Security Institute (ISMI), and to the Regional Maritime University (RMU).
  • Formulated a civil society organisation (CSO) engagement strategy to provide a framework for the programme activities that involve civil society.
  • To tackle the impact of COVID-19 organized via videoconferences national webinars on raising awareness of CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Guinea Bissau, and Togo to promote wider engagement of the civil society in maritime security.
  • Launched the international tender procedure for supply of equipment to ECOWAS Maritime Centers and ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Center.
  • Formulated a private sector strategy, supported the development of an Alert Bulletin, and organized a webinar to launch the strategy and foster the engagement of the private sector in maritime.
  • Established a functional project management unit to coordinate the implementation of the different components of the project and to ensure monitoring and timely reporting on project activities and results by the implementing partners (UNODC, CILCL, ARSTM, ISMI, RMU, GIABA).
  • Acted as the Secretariat to the first Steering Committee, coordinated visibility actions, and liaised with other EU-funded projects in the Gulf of Guinea to ensure coherence of action.
  • Conducted a detailed survey of maritime security stakeholders, delineating roles, and responsibilities in each member state.
  • Assessed the legal framework and existing legislation governing maritime crime.
  • Contributed to the drafting of model manuals and work packages for developing integrated maritime policy and the planned maritime security workshops.
  • Submitted a draft juridical report itemizing the legislation relating to maritime crime in ECOWAS member states.


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