The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (GAFCSC) has introduced a Maritime Sector Governance Course at the College. The course which was formerly the Exclusive Economic Zone Management and Operations Course was organized in collaboration with maritime subject matter experts. The course aimed at providing professional maritime practitioners, affiliated stakeholders and important decision makers in the maritime industry, with the background knowledge required for effective Maritime Sector Governance. Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday 15 February 2021, Professor Elvis K Nyarko, the Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University who was the Guest of Honour for the ceremony, mentioned that sustainable development of the management of maritime resources required collaboration across nation-states and across the public-private sector on a scale that had not been previously achieved. He underscored that efforts at addressing maritime-related needs in developing countries, such as Ghana, were often hampered by inappropriate institutional designs and organizational cultures, poor institutional coordination, as well as the lack of resources among others. Professor Nyarko further stated that the nature of maritime threats was dynamic and would continue evolving and changing. He said overcoming these challenges required clear strategic direction that should be articulated within an appropriate policy framework. He therefore found the introduction of the Maritime Sector Governance module relevant and appropriate, considering the challenges Ghana faced in her maritime domain.

The course came to a close on Friday 19 February 2021 with a closing ceremony having Mr Lawrence Apaalse, Chief Director of the Ministry of Energy as the Guest of Honour. Mr Apaalse endorsed the decision of Management to review the course content to reflect contemporary issues in the maritime sector. According to him, though nations had been depending on the oceans and its resources for decades in terms of economic prosperity, recent activities had shown that the maritime domain was the space to watch when it came to sustainable economic development. He saw the importance for necessary efforts to be made to ensure effective governance of the maritime sector. He therefore found the introduction of the course which encompassed the Blue Economy concept to be appropriate. It is worthy of note that the Blue Economy concept is included in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in which the Blue Economy had been unanimously declared as Africa’s future and recognized as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation. The need to develop the Blue Economy is also consistent with achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14 “to conserve and sustainably use the Oceans, Seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” Mr Apaalse reminded participants that due to the complex nature and immense size of the maritime domain, it was particularly susceptible to unlawful exploitation and disruption by individuals, organizations, and states. He further stated that African countries stood to lose enormously if effective and coordinated strategies were not evolved to endure sustainable exploitation within the maritime domain. The Maritime Sector Governance course has thus been designed to ensure a more professional and holistic understanding of maritime governance by all stakeholders to engender the political and institutional will needed to consider decisions affecting the effective and efficient protection of maritime resources.

Professor Nyarko in a group photograph with the Commandant, the UK Head of Political Affairs at the British High Commission, Staff, and participants of the maiden Maritime Sector Governance Course.

A cross-section of participants during the opening ceremony

From the right: Rear Admiral Moses Beick-Baffour (Commandant GAFCSC), Professor Elvis Nyarko (Vice-Chancellor Regional Maritime University and Guest of Honour for the Opening Ceremony), Mr. Joe Whittle (Head of Political Affairs at the British High Commission in Accra), and Colonel RJK Komlaga (Chief Coordinator, GAFCSC)

Rear Admiral Moses Beick-Baffour with Mr. Lawrence Apaalse, the Guest of Honour for the Closing Ceremony.

A cross-section of participants at the closing ceremony

A participant receiving her certificate at the end of the course

By Lt Col Evelyn Asamoah, Deputy Director Corporate Affairs