June 2007

More about the previously unknown fourth branch of the US government revealed.

Click on image to enlarge, or click here for the original.

This map was published in 2002 by Vanco after signing the Cape Three Points Deep Petroleum Agreement with Ghana. They consider the geology of the deep water areas off the Ghanaian coast well situated for potential oil reserves. The first well was projected for 2007. And as we have just heard in recent days, there is a major oil discovery off the western coast of Ghana. From the looks of this map, there might be more discoveries on the way. Ghana will need strength and foresight to deal with this, so that the oil may have a chance to help rather than harm the people of Ghana. I am praying Ghana may escape the oil curse.

Added from an earlier post –
Here is the core of the debate over African oil development:

  • Can oil revenues be made to work for Africans or will they profit only the corrupt few?
  • Are oil revenues destined to fuel civil wars and pay for the abuse of human rights or can they build peace and prosperity?
  • Is oil development in Africa’s interest or in the interest of the United States? (or, I would add, can the two interests be balanced?)
  • Can African oil and gas reserves be exploited without harming the environment, or is the expansion of the world’s oil-based economy ultimately inimical to our collective future on this planet?

The Scramble for Africa

As the industrial powers race to extract the continent’s natural resources to feed their own consumption, they are fostering environmental degradation, corruption and human rights abuses.

Africa Oil Week took place in Cape Town, late 2006. One of the conferences was even titled the Scramble for Africa.

As is often the case with oil, military involvement follows closely behind trade, and in February this year the US set up an Africa command (Africom). It has established bases in and signed access agreements with Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Gabon and Namibia. Africa is becoming strategically important to the US because of its oil production and China’s increasing influence in the region.
. . .
The new entrant to the scramble is China. Despite its large land area, it is a resource-poor country and Africa offers the natural resources vital to fuel its rapidly growing economy.
. . .
Beijing has charmed African rulers with a triple whammy of arms sales, cancelled debt and soft loans. Last year, president Hu Jintao and prime minister Wen Jiabao visited 10 African countries, and this increasingly intimate relationship was consummated at the China-Africa summit in October, when Beijing rolled out the red carpet to almost 50 African heads of state and ministers.
. . .
“Unless properly managed, the windfall gains from resource extraction cause more problems. It reduces a state’s incentive to impose a free and just taxation system, and encourages corruption and acquisition of weaponry.”

Resource extraction has already caused severe environmental problems. And the competition for resources and profit fuels violent conflict and human rights abuses.

The clearing of forests for timber exports increases vulnerability to erosion, river silting, landslides, flooding and loss of habitat for plant and animal species. Gas flaring from oil production, where unusable waste gas is burned off, pumps large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

So what can Africa do about this? b real kindly pointed out this article, which suggests a possible response. As someone who watched the blunderings of the Cold War in Africa, and the brutal pointless devastation that created, I strongly endorse the author’s opinion, that African governments must develop a collective response. We all know there is strength in numbers, and we need all the strength we can muster for dealing with the twin Goliaths, the US and China.

Africa: Scramble for a Response

Almost all of the world’s major economic actors have a presence on the continent. Yet it is two of them — the US and China — whose footprints could leave the most-lasting legacy. And this legacy is unlikely to be positive.
. . .

Ultimately, it would be prudent for advocates of African development to recognise that both countries are on the continent to advance their own national interest, and harbouring illusions to the contrary will result only in future disappointment.

Moreover, such advocates should recognise that there is a great danger looming from this new scramble for Africa’s resources. The last time such a scramble took place, during the Cold War, the consequences were devastating. Both foreign powers, the US and Soviet Union, established client regimes, funded rebel armies, and engaged in proxy wars. The result was a continent wracked by civil wars, displacements of citizens, and cross-border refugee flows. How to avoid a repeat should be the overriding concern of Africa’s political elite.

. . .

What then can be done? A collective African response can be the only solution . What form would it take? Some would argue for a pan-African solution in the form of a United States of Africa. But while such a development would be positive, it is not feasible in the short to medium term.

What about the possibility of a continental charter of rights governing investments and engagements on the continent? Such a charter, which would have to be negotiated in the African Union (AU), could supersede bilateral agreements and force all external powers to accord to a specific set of practices. Of course, the administrative weaknesses and the capacity constraints of the AU may hinder compliance.

But if such a charter were to be agreed to by the AU, it could be subsequently ratified in the United Nations, thereby strengthening its institutionalisation and enhancing the reach of its compliance.

. . .

Is this likely? Probably not, given the divisions within the AU. But there is an urgent need to try to develop a continental African response. The failure to develop one would have serious consequences for Africa and undermine all of the significant achievements of the past decade. Given this, should this not be the principal focus of SA in the AU summit starting later this month ? Should we not use this opportunity to focus African minds in a realistic attempt to develop a collective African response to a developing continental threat?

b real, in the comments, points me to this article about the possibility of Liberia hosting Africom HQ. It includes the following sentence:

The new command’s main mission will be to stabilize weak or poor countries by training the local security forces and providing humanitarian aid.

When I read it I see some things have been left out. These omissions are part of Bush/Cheney’s standard operating approach to the world, but they’ve been around since before Bush/Cheney. “The new command’s main mission will be to stabilize weak or poor countries,” or destabilize countries who may oppose or disagree with United States oil interests and intentions. And “training the local security forces” brings the notorious School of the Americas to mind, which has helped bring so much peace and security to Central and South America in the form of coups, torture, and destabilization.

Libya and Morocco have both turned down hosting the Pentagon’s new Africa Command. Libya said it would oppose its neighbors hosting Africom HQ as well.

No takers for a US base in Africa

A U.S. delegation got a chilly reception this month, meeting opposition even in countries that enjoy friendly relations with the Pentagon . . .

“People on the street assume their governments have already had too many dealings with the U.S. in the war on terror at the expense of the rule of law”

June 26, The Guardian has more today:

Africa united in rejecting US request for military HQ

The Pentagon’s plan to create a US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility from governments in the region reluctant to associate themselves with the Bush administration’s “war on terror” and fearful of American intervention.
. . .
“We’ve got a big image problem down there,” a state department official admitted. “Public opinion is really against getting into bed with the US. They just don’t trust the US.” Another African worry was that any US facilities could become targets for terrorists, the official said. Economic incentives, including the prospect of hundreds of local jobs, had not proved persuasive.

Mr Henry said African officials had agreed that counter-terrorism was “a top security concern”. But he added: “The countries were committed to the AU as the continent’s common security structure. They advised us that Africom should be established in harmony with the AU.”

Bush/Cheney has done terrible damage to the US reputation. This may actually help African countries to stand up for themselves and make their own decisions. Solutions to African problems must come from Africa if there is any chance for them to work. I am impressed that all the countries mentioned said the US has to work through the AU.

This may put additional pressure on West Africa, if the North African countries have said no. West African countries are not mentioned in the article. I worry about Kufuor being another poodle for Bush. There is already US military activity in Ghana. I hope this can be kept at a minimum. The US is now talking about a more distributed command, involving a number of countries. If this is the way things go, I hope Ghana can resist much in the way of active participation.

Military Base Disposal Site

A recent article by Kwadwo Nketsia in the Accra Mail raises the question of a US base in Ghana once again. I have not read that proposed in any US media recently. However, Bush/Cheney are unlikely to make anything public until they are forced to do so. The speculation I have read is that that a military base and Africa Command HQ may be located in Sao Tome and Principe, which would provide fast and easy access to the entire Gulf of Guinea, or possibly in Morroco. Still, Ghana would have much to offer the US Military, and I think it would be a mistake for Ghanaians to think a US Military base would have much that is positive to offer Ghana.

Ghana has much to be proud of as a sovereign nation. As Nketsia correctly records:

Ghana is said to be among six countries being considered for the location of the military base. We are being considered due to our “true young democracy”, freedom of speech, good governance (which has earned us monetary rewards for MCA projects), and an excellent human rights record, (The Global Peace Index study has ranked Ghana the 40th most peaceful country in the world ) and other positive factors for better development.

All these positives are true. Nketsia’s main argument for the base appears to be economic, paychecks would put money into the local economy, and the base would draw visitors from around the world. He thinks that a base will have a positive effect on health. He should look at the situation in the US, or ask the Philippines about the toxic waste and health care issues Clark AFB left behind.

The U.S. military’s choice to ignore such toxic time bombs in the Philippines has already wreaked havoc on the Philippine people. Hazardous substances in the groundwater continue to migrate into heavily populated towns east of Clark . . . Not merely a sore spot in the relationship between the Philippines and the United States, this toxic disaster threatens people’s basic human right to a clean and healthy environment.

Throughout the United States and around the world people who live in the general vicinity of military bases are in terrible danger:

The contaminants emitted from military bases include pesticides, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and uranium. The health effects for the surrounding communities are devastating: miscarriages, low birth weights, birth defects, kidney disease, and cancer.

The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest polluter in the world, producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined. . . the burden of health impacts and environmental destruction falls disproportionately on poorer communities, people of color and indigenous communities. Women face particularly severe problems because of their sensitive reproductive tissues and children because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.

This is what Ghana has to look forward to if there is a US Military base situated in Ghana.

Under Bush/Cheney the current military strategy is the long war for oil. The object of the long war is to co-opt and contain oil supplies wherever they might be found around the globe. The recent discovery of oil in Ghana’s territorial waters may have increased US interest in Ghana as a potential US base.

Nketsia also thinks the days of huge military bases are behind us. At present the US African bases are the lily pads he describes, and there is already some base activity in Ghana. But it you look at what the US is still building in Iraq, the new bases planned are even larger than ever. The US version of the colony is the military base. Countries that are home to these bases become occupied territories of the United States. It is a fast way to lose sovereignty.

In which Bush stands atop the Iraqi War dead, protecting life in a dish of stem cells.

click on the map to see the larger view

I spoke to family in Ghana tonight and asked what people were thinking about the oil discovery. Mostly it was very low on the list of concerns. And the general feeling I heard, was that the oil news is mostly government propaganda. This was a minimal part of the conversation, but interesting none the less.
I found the map above, showing the location of the oil discovery, and also the information below from rigzone.com:

Anadarko is the technical operator of the well with a 30.875% interest. Kosmos Energy is the block operator and holds a 30.875% interest. Other partners include Tullow Ghana Limited, an affiliate of Tullow Oil plc, with a 22.896% interest and Sabre Oil and Gas Limited with a 1.854% interest in the block. The E.O. Group, a Ghanaian oil and gas company, holds a 3.5% interest in the block. The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation will be carried through the exploration and development phases with a 10% participating interest.


This sentiment seems particularly apt since the announcement of an oil discovery in Ghana. With appreciation to Amaah’s photos. He is also the author of Koranteng’s Toli.

Njei Moses Timah

Most African countries’ petroleum revenue has simply disappeared.

He continues:

It is my opinion that Kufuor’s elation about this oil find is a little bit naive. As a seasoned politician and African Union (AU) chairman, he is better placed to know that oil and other minerals have contributed more to African backwardness than the want of resources.

These resources have fanned civil wars in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Chad. Coups and mercenary incursions have occurred in almost all resource-rich African countries. The corruption and graft that follows the discovery of these resources has destroyed the social fabric of many of these so-called oil or mineral producing African countries. Bad governance, weak and inefficient institutions, poor accountability, crime and parasitic state employees (now a hallmark of these countries) have all contributed to chase Africa’s best brains out of the continent. There is no doubt that this brain drain is negatively affecting the competence and the commitment of those left behind to negotiate trade terms with foreign partners and administer these countries.

Timah proposes that the African Union band together to negotiate oil contracts and to stand firm against the predatory exploitation and interference that is sure to come.

The AU should be seriously thinking about how they can negotiate the management of African resources with external powers. The current way of doing things will never move Africa out of backwardness. Leaders of most African countries are usually manipulated, cajoled, bullied or simply bribed to sign unfavorable contracts with foreign partners. Those that have resisted these pressures in the past have simply been “physically removed” or their governments subverted in one form or another.

Oil is the most important commodity in the world today and those that need that commodity most are very powerful nations. China and the United States are not going to fold their arms and allow Ghana to quietly enjoy the proceeds of the over $40 billion worth of oil (less exploration and production costs) that has been discovered. It has never been so in other oil producing African countries. The AU should understand this and accept the reality that many African countries can neither protect their resources from external economic predators nor negotiate fair trading terms with them.

The comments on his article are interesting as well

There have been a number of reports of the discovery of a significant oil field off the coast of Ghana. Everyone I know is jubilating about it. Let us pray that Ghana does not fall victim to the oil curse. Poverty has increased in those countries that have oil, and agriculture that lets a country feed itself, has died.

Rawlings made some particularly brilliant moves when he governed Ghana, setting up the government in a way that tied a contemporary, and generally democratic government to traditional local and regional ways of governing. Ghana has the tools to make government work. Ghana also has problems with corruption that have gotten worse under Kufuor, who owes his position to some very corrupt people. Kufuor will be gone about the same time as Bush. He has used the Presidency as a paid travel vacation around the world. He is rarely and briefly in Ghana. Let us hope Ghanaians chose the next President wisely. Oil encourages corruption, and there are many dangers.

If Ghana is able to invest a significant portion of oil earnings in education, Ghana could become a regional strength and beacon. Ghana needs to restore compulsory free elementary education, as was the case after independence and before the coups. Ghana needs universal and compulsory secondary education, and it needs advanced learning, colleges and universities. The need and demand is there, but the supply has been neglected. Universities create economic success. For those parts of the United States that have invested heavily in universities, it has paid of in economic booms and sustained economic success. Businesses want to set up shop where they can find a trained and talented pool of workers. Education brings business, education develops business, and business brings money.

Ghana also needs to think long term. What happens when the oil runs out. Ghana needs to develop economic and energy resources independent of oil. And Ghana needs to protect her environment. No country yet has done very well in planning for the end of oil. I recently watched a tv program, Equator, in which Simon Reeves travels around the equator. In his travels through Gabon he said that with oil supplies depleted, and local agriculture barely in existence, President Bongo had declared a number of large forest areas as protected reserves, and is encouraging tourism as a source of income to replace oil. The program showed people in a rural village dancing for tourists, as that was their only means of making a living. They had little agriculture, and were forbidden to hunt in the reserves where they used to hunt. It made for a very peculiar situation. To my eye, there was little joy in the dance, and I really wondered what the tourists felt, and what they were thinking. I would not enjoy seeing this sort of thing again.

Some of the oil strike stories from:
The Statesman
The Daily Graphic
The Accra Daily Mail
Joy Online
BBC News

Also from BBC News:

Mr Kufuor said the discovery would give a major boost to Ghana’s economy.

We’re going to really zoom, accelerate… and you’ll see that Ghana truly is the African tiger
Ghana’s President John Kufuor

“Oil is money, and we need money to do the schools, the roads, the hospitals. If you find oil, you manage it well, can you complain about that?” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

I am praying fervently that he is right.

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor pose for photo with local children during a road completion ceremony near Accra, capital of Ghana, June 19, 2006. Wen and Kufuor co-inaugurated Monday the road between Ofankor and Nsawan, a portion of the trunk road linking Ghana’s capital Accra and the west African country’s second biggest city Kumasi.

Harold French has an article in the International Herald Tribune about the Chinese footprint growing across Africa. China’s fundamental interest is oil, China really needs to expand supply to meet skyrocketing demand.

French compares an Ethiopian Airlines flight filled with Chinese, to those flights he has taken to Africa from the United States:

Yes, there is a smattering of business people and of tourists. But the Americans who travel to Africa tend to be aid workers of one kind or another: officials of the U.S. government and of the international financial institutions, like the World Bank, and the army of well-paid consultants and contractors that they deploy. They are also relief workers and missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers, and academics doing research.

There is much to be gleaned from the contrast here. Chinese people today look at Africa and see opportunity, promise and a fertile field upon which their energies, mercantile and otherwise, can be given full play. Too often, the West looks at Africa and sees a problematic pupil, a sickly patient, and a zone of pestilence, where failure looms in the air like a curse.

To be sure, China will not forever be the fresh-faced and idealized suitor that many in Africa take it to be today. This is clearly a special, honeymoon-like moment. But the very appeal of China owes a great deal to disillusionment in Africa with the West, whose preachiness and shifting prescriptions, whose unreliability and penchant in the face of frustration for damning cultural explanations for Africa’s failures, free of critical self-examination, have left many Africans exasperated.

This exasperation has been the all but unacknowledged backdrop to a string of recent events, from the Wolfowitz scandal at the World Bank to the recent Group of 8 summit meeting, the common threads being Western posturing about helping Africa, a failure to deliver on promises and the dearth of African voices heard, or even admitted into the debate.

It is particularly this last that truly infuriates Africans: the dearth of African voices heard, or even admitted into the debate, as well as the West’s unreliability and penchant in the face of frustration for damning cultural explanations for Africa’s failures.

In a previous post I quoted Kenyan journalist Charles Onyango-Obbo on the World Bank:

Not too long ago, in many African countries, the second most powerful person after the president was not the army commander or the vice president, but the World Bank country representative.

The policy prescriptions of the Bank . . . and loan conditions could neither be reviewed nor questioned by elected parliaments and cabinets.

And following World Bank and IMF prescriptions has left many African countries with these results:

So, at the end of the day, by following the advice of western experts you’ve destroyed your rural economy, gone from a country which could feed itself to a net importer of food, created huge slums around your cities, increased the instability of your country – and haven’t modernized.
. . .

When citizens of third world countries talk about how the West in general, and America in specific, is keeping them down, this is much of what they’re talking about.

French notes the same thing in his article, including the following statements:

Thérèse Mekombé, a member of a Chadian commission created to supervise the use of that country’s oil revenues, was categorical in an interview, saying, “The World Bank is not a partner in development, and can never be a partner in our development.”

Another recent exception was an op-ed column by the Senegalese president, Abdoulaye Wade, which was published in this newspaper, urging G-8 nations to invest in Africa “like India and China.”

And as French ads:

Compare this with China, whose diplomacy has been on a tear across the continent recently, writing off debt, exempting African exports from trade duties, lending increasingly huge amounts of money, and, generally speaking, making things happen quickly and in a big way.

Surely China is pursuing its own interests. Just as surely, much of what it is attempting will not pan out, or will have deleterious effects, particularly since no distinction is made between governments that are relatively clean and representative and those that are odious.

(Between the West and China) . . . it is not hard to see who is gaining ground.

Despite Bush, the United States still has a moderately good reputation in Africa, and still holds a position of some respect. Most African governments continue to deal with the US. This is primarily the result of work by Presidents Carter and Clinton. Carter’s emphasis on human rights made a huge impact around the world. It is a great shame the US turned away from this immediately following Carter under Reagan. And Clinton has enjoyed a fabulous relationship with Africa where he is viewed as a brother.

Southern thinking and traditions are not often held in esteem by the US intelligentsia, aside from the GOP southern strategy to take advantage of white racism. But I often think that leaders with open minds, who come out of the south, have a greatly enhanced ability to achieve some success in resolving intransigent issues. Southerners know how to talk and keep talking. They have had to keep talking to work out the issues of civil rights. And when you have two sides that are completely opposed, the only possible peaceful solution lies in talking and talking and keeping talking, even when there looks like no possibility of compromise.

The present US approach to Africa, military assistance, the Africa Command, with diplomacy and aid subsumed under the Pentagon’s aegis, is exactly the wrong way to go. It continues the western mistakes and arrogance that French describes. The Africom message is control and containment.

Those people who “look at Africa and see opportunity, promise and a fertile field upon which their energies, mercantile and otherwise, can be given full play” are likely to do better both for African countries and for themselves. Although the same caveat applies here as everywhere in the world. It is critical for everyone to think long term about human rights and about the environment.

With some thoughts on American justice Bush/Gonzales style.

Salah Abdallah “Gosh” has been accused of failing to stop the mass murder of 300,000 people and making a further two million homeless in Sudan.
The African multi-country Committee for Intelligence and Security Services (Cissa) met in Sudan this past week. Sudan made it into a big party and spectacle, which seems oddly at odds with spying. Spies and media were flown in at the expense of the Sudanese government.

You can read more about it here at iol.co.za:

Dennis Dlamini, Cissa’s executive secretary, took a firm hand of the briefing, spelling out the guiding principles behind Cissa, which had been somewhat glossed over by the conference chair, Brig Mohammed Al Hassan. Sanctity of human life, individual security and not regime security, and “shunning” genocide were all assumed to be the values of its members. Immediately, there was a barrage of questions from Arabic journalists, on whether Cissa was going to collaborate with the United States. Of course, most African governments already are, including Sudan, but Dlamini did not want to divulge any details. Neither was it clear how many members Cissa had. At the end claims were made that 46 African nations had joined, but many of them did not appear to be at the conference. Then again, maybe that’s why they’re called spooks.

The account includes this noteworthy description:

Then we were herded after being scanned twice into a briefing room and then taken to attend the closing remarks of the new Cissa chairman, General Salah Abdallah Gosh, Sudan’s top security agent. Gosh looked like he hadn’t slept for years. He had a soft voice, and his one eyelid drooped, and overall there was only one description for his demeanour: Spooky.

And Gosh made this rather astonishing set of remarks:

Gosh was waylaid by some American journalists. Rather flustered for a spymaster, he returned to the podium and began to take questions. He responded most of the time in Arabic, with no attempt being made to translate. However, he did make the astounding statement that the Darfur crisis only existed in America, where it was an issue between the Democrats and Republicans.

Which raised the very serious question: Is Gosh the right person to run an organisation that is supposed to feed Africa’s early warning system for possible conflicts?

10/26/2005 Training Exercise
The Ghanaian Naval Ship Anzone, front, and the GNS Achimotaz follow astern of the USS Gunston Hall while participating in training as part of West African Training Cruise ‘06 in the Gulf of Guinea, Oct. 20, 2005 . . . .participating West African nations of Ghana, Senegal, Guinea and Morocco . . . U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Steve Faulisi

Peter Pham writes in World Defense Review about securing the new strategic gulf. His assessment leaves no doubt as to the nature of US interests. Increasingly the oil from the Gulf of Guinea is found in deep water off shore locations. To protect oil interests, the US wants a naval presence.

Pham writes:

. . . this past March, Nigeria edged past Saudi Arabia to become our third largest supplier, delivering 41,717,000 barrels of oil to the desert kingdom’s 38,557,000.
When one adds Angola’s 22,542,000 barrels to the former figure, the two African states alone now supply more of America’s energy needs than Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates combined.
This is all the more remarkable when one considers that, as I reported in this column three weeks ago, the militant activities of the relatively small Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) over the course of the last eighteen months has “had the cumulative affect of cutting Nigeria’s total oil production by almost one-third.”
Yet for all its global importance as well as strategic significance for U.S. national interests, the Gulf of Guinea has seen comparatively few resources poured into maritime security, a deficit which only worsens when one considers the scale of the area in question and the magnitude of the challenges faced. Depending on how one chooses to define the gulf region, it encompasses roughly a dozen countries with nearly 3,500 miles of coastline running in an arc from West Africa to Angola.

Pham is concerned about international groups like al-Qaeda, replaying the usual themes of terrorism and oil. There are other security issues in the Gulf. Piracy is one, in the form of armed robbery against ships, mostly off the coast of Nigeria. Criminal enterprises are another, mostly tapping oil pipelines and stealing oil, and an escalating drug trade. Poaching is the third, mostly illegal and unlicensed fishing from commercial trawlers, damaging both the fishing business and the eco-system.

The US Navy is planning a more or less permanent presence in the Gulf of Guinea:

“We’re getting a large-volume ship,” Ulrich explained to reporters, “and loading it with expertise — training teams — and we’re going to go down to the Gulf of Guinea and work the 11 Gulf of Guinea nations and build maritime capability and capacity. The ship is a platform that holds the training teams and the students, visiting the countries, bringing the students together and improving on their knowledge skills and ability so that they can provide for their own maritime safety and security.”
Plans are not yet finalized, but the ship is likely to be the landing ship dock Fort McHenry, based at Little Creek, Va., as part of the Atlantic Fleet. Amphibious ships like the Fort McHenry are designed to carry more than 400 Marines, as well as cargo, vehicles, landing craft and aircraft.
. . .
Current plans envision the Fort McHenry working a circuit, traveling between Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, São Tomé and Principe, Gabon and Angola. Training and support teams would be dropped off and picked up at each stop, spreading the deployment’s expertise around the area.
Prominently left out of current plans for the deployment is Nigeria, the region’s top oil-producer but the scene over recent years of ongoing strife and corruption.

Ambassador Peter Chaveas, director of the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), noted the importance of Nigeria as part of a successful GFS effort.
“If you’re going to address the issues of maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea you simply can’t do it without Nigeria,” he told reporters. “That’s absolutely critical to it.”

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