Piracy in international waters in sub-Saharan Africa is not just fodder for Hollywood movies, e.g. Captain Phillips. Pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea interrupt transportation routes in a region where transportation costs are already extremely high. In fact, the World Bank estimates that piracy in the Gulf of Aden alone costs the global economy $18 billion annually. Beyond the hampering of trade in the region, piracy networks create profits for groups that further destabilize countries with already weak governance.

Brookings senior fellow from the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Vanda Felbab-Brown, reviews the latest trends in maritime piracy off the coasts of Somalia and Nigeria.

Read the related paper »

While incidences of piracy in the Gulf of Aden have declined in the past two years, pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are on the rise.  According to Vanda, there is a clear need for policies in 2014 that focus on building the capacity of the Nigerian and Somalian states to govern their coastal territories in order to find long-term solutions to piracy in these hot spots. 

Read Foresight Africa 2014

, which details the top priorities for Africa in the coming year, to learn more about Africa’s challenges with piracy and other critical issues for the region.