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Germany donates equipment to the ECOWAS multinational maritime coordination Center Zone E

Cotonou, 15 July 2017. Benin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Aurélien Agbénonci, thanked Germany for its support to the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone E of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enable it better play its role.

The support resulted in presentation by Germany, this Saturday 15 July, in Cotonou, Benin, of communication and maritime surveillance gadgets, office equipment, and a Toyota Hiace mini bus to the Centre.

For Mr Agbénonci, this role focuses on cooperation, coordination, pooling and interoperability of resources as part of the implementation of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy for Zone E.

The Centre’s capacity building must continue and the Government of Benin reaffirmed its interest in the Centre and for its activities, disclosed Benin’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

‘I can assure you that the Benin Government will continue to meet its commitment to the operationalization of the Centre, especially in the areas of logistics, financing and training’ stated Mr Agbénonci.

He expressed his gratitude to Germany for its remarkable support to the ECOWAS Commission as part of its efforts to stem illegal activities in West Africa’s maritime area.

For the German Ambassador to Benin, Walter Von Den Driesch, the past decade has seen a significant rise in illegal activities, in particular acts of piracy, armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, illicit drug, arms and human trafficking, as well as illegal fishing.

With the donation of equipment to the Centre, Mr Driesch noted that the first step had been taken in building the safety and security architecture of Zone E.

‘It is now the task of the Centre to prove to the international navigation that it is able to support and provide security 24/7 in case of emergency’ he pointed out.

With the equipment donated by Germany, the Centre will now be in a position to provide assistance to ships in distress, share information with ships in Africa and worldwide, and better secure the maritime waters of Benin, assured its director, Navy Captain Aliyu Gaya of Nigeria.

In addition to Nigeria, the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone E comprises Niger, Togo and Benin, disclosed Mrs Halima Ahmed, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security.

On behalf of the Commission President Marcel de Souza, she thanked Germany for the equipment donated to the MMCC, and made a commitment that the regional organisation would also play its role in the fight against illegal activities in the West African maritime area.

Like the country’s Ambassador, Mrs Halima Ahmed underscored the rise in illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea, resulting in the loss of billions of US dollars to West African countries.

She recalled that the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy adopted by West African Heads of State and Government on 26 March 2014, in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, whose effective and efficient implementation, she noted, would help to better combat illegal activities in the West African maritime area.


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