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African Coastal Security Program

Improving African capacities to monitor their coastlines is a critical part of the Bush Administration strategy. The Administraiton said it will revive the old African Coastal Security Program, which helps African security forces protect their shores as well as their marine resources. A side benefit of the coastal security program, will be the formation of some kind of competent navy or coast guard to respond in the event of threats to offshore drilling rigs and other kinds of operations.

In July 2004 the United States offered to help Nigeria protect the flow of oil in the Gulf of Guinea and combat terrorist attacks on the oil industry. The Gulf of Guinea, stretching from Liberia in the west to Angola in the south, currently provides about 15 percent of U.S. oil supplies. That share is expected to grow to 25 percent by 2015.

In 1985 the United States initiated the African Civic Action Program, which included a Coastal Security Program to help West African littoral states patrol and defend their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) against treaty violations, illegal fishing, and smuggling. The African Civic Action Program also strengthened regional cooperation in search and rescue, pollution control, and training operations.

By 1995 a number of smaller programs had dried up from lack of funding, such as African Coastal Security (ACS), which helped security forces protect their marine resources; Military Civic Action (MCA), which assists Africa's armed forces undertake small local development projects; and Military Health Affairs (MHA), which aims to improve medical conditions within Africa's militaries themselves.

In April 2003 it was announced that Washington wants to relaunch the African Coastal Security Program to improve the capability of the navies and coastguard services of African governments and combat piracy. Under the ACSP, the US could provide the region with additional naval vessels, radar and communications equipment, coastguard training and co-ordination.

In return, America would like to have access to rudimentary bases for military training and operations in the event of crisis. A navy base is likely in the Gulf of Guinea, possibly on the Island of Sao Tome, where America is funding a deep-sea port. Sao Tome and Principe (STP), is a developing nation located off the coast of Gabon, in west central Africa. STP is roughly five times the size of Washington, DC in the United States.



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