In This Chapter

Ocean and Coastal Policy Processes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Issues, opportunities, and strategic options

Authored by: Indumathie Hewawasam , Bernice McLean , Leopoldo Maraboli , Magnus Ngoile

Routledge Handbook of National and Regional Ocean Policies

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138788299
eBook ISBN: 9781315765648
Adobe ISBN: 9781317658061


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Africa is the world’s second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. With more than 1.1 billion people (as of 2013), Africa accounts for over 15 per cent of the world’s population. According to the World Bank, the poverty headcount ratio at US$1.25 a day, as a percentage of the population, was as high as 46.8 per cent in 2011 (World Bank, undated). The late nineteenth century saw a ‘scramble for Africa’ by the European imperial powers and the creation of many colonial nation states. Post-colonial Africa has fifty-four fully recognized independent nations, many of whose borders were delineated during the colonial era. After a troubled series of decades through which many nations experienced military dictatorships, coups, apartheid, and periods of instability, several countries have achieved political stability and economic growth. These include Ghana, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. The most populous nation in Africa, Nigeria hosts the world’s largest proven oil reserves and is currently the largest economy in Africa. Overall, the economic growth in the continent has improved significantly, despite the global economic crisis in 2009 (World Bank, undated). This chapter contains a narrative of the economic and ecological importance of ocean and coastal areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the current and emerging threats to sustainability, some governance processes undertaken at the regional and national level to address these threats, and some options on how to move these processes forward as regional or sub-regional initiatives.

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