Africa’s Airport, Maritime and Ports Security Equal America’s Security

By Lloyd Jameson, Senior Advisor on Defense
and Security, The Corporate Council on Africa

In 2012, according to the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), eight of the 20 fastest growing economies were in sub-Saharan
Africa.  In 2013, President Obama announced Trade Africa, which clearly
provided an avenue for U.S. companies to increase their investments and
solidify their relationship with Africa. Also, in 2013 AGOA imports to the U.S.
totaled $26.3 billion, which was also a positive trend in U.S.-Africa trade.  

Countries such as Angola and Nigeria enjoyed
double digit increases in imports and exports within the U.S., while companies
such as Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, TAAG and South African Airways
continued their quest for direct flights between Africa and the U.S. 

As trade and investments continue to increase
between the U.S. and Africa, and discussions continue to reference direct U.S.–Africa
flights and increased trade through AGOA and Trade Africa initiatives, the
topic of security of airports and maritime and ports are becoming more

Prior to America’s big push on initiatives to
increase investments in Africa, there wasn’t much focus on the correlations
between secure airports, maritime and port facilities in Africa, equaling a
secure America.  No one really gave a second thought to the other fact
that if the African continent is secure, it might lead to more investment from
U.S. firms. If there is an increase of investment from U.S. firms in
Africa, that might translate into increased jobs, products, services,
technology exchanges and the export of U.S. expertise. 

Security can be observed from many different
standpoints, however African airports, maritime and ports security are integral
to a safe and secure America. As we correlate more sales to African
nations from U.S. companies such as Boeing and the push for direct flights to
and from the U.S. to countries such as Senegal, Angola, South Africa, Ethiopia
and Kenya, one can imagine what would occur if airport security were not a core
concern. How would the U.S. cease illegal trade, and/or illegal persons
from entering the U.S.? As we sell more U.S. aviation products and there is a
potential for more direct U.S. –Africa flights, security has been at the
forefront of the homeland defense. The U.S. has refocused some of its
strategy for airport security by focusing on building human capacity in some
anchor countries, which are currently providing direct flights or are
potentially in a position to offer direct flights in the future. It is
evident that if the airport personnel are not trained to international standards
i.e. to be vigilant, maintain limited access and provide a safe journey for
travelers, the lack of security in African airports would affect America and
its borders.  

From this correlation, a secure airport in
Africa equals a safe flight, safe passengers and ultimately the opportunity for
U.S. businessmen and women to continue their quest to invest on the continent,
which will benefit both the U.S. and Africa.  This need for security opens
up the opportunity for the U.S. to fill the niche for providing the expertise
and training.

The same correlation for the airports can be
drawn for the ports. Due to increased trade and investment, it is
imperative that African ports and their security are up to standard to avoid
any security lapse. Maritime ports that serve oil tankers and cargo ships
bound for the U.S. should be secured and should have the correct security
policies in place to detract illegal transportation of arms, personnel and
materials that are harmful to the U.S. 

U.S. companies are poised to provide the
security expertise, consultation, training and equipment necessary to protect
African airports and maritime ports and at the same time protect America. Many
U.S. companies possess the security expertise to train airport personnel in
securing an airport, travelers and airlines. U.S. companies also have the
expertise in training airport and maritime port personnel in the use of U.S.
made scanning equipment that detect explosives and illegal materials not
approved for travel. U.S. companies can provide African governments with best
practices and assist in the development of airport and maritime port security
policies that will facilitate a safe travel experience throughout the
continent. Some of The Corporate Council on Africa’s member companies are
leaders in providing expert security solutions and equipment necessary to
ensure safe passage in both airports and maritime ports.

As U.S.-Africa Trade
increases, a secure African airport and maritime port is equally essential to a
secure America. This security niche, offers U.S. companies the opportunity
to deliver expertise, equipment and solutions for enhanced security, both in
Africa and the U.S. Do you still believe there is no correlation between
African airport and maritime and port security and America’s security?

More from aKoma