Last week, the Ghana Navy announced a revised strategic plan, Agenda 2024, to maintain a modern and robust Naval force capable of defending the country against maritime threats.

Agenda 2024 outlines a plan to achieve total surveillance coverage through increased monitoring and Maritime operations Centres, modernising the Navy by leveraging technology for its operations, enhancing sailors’ welfare, and collaboration with stakeholders and international partners.

The new plan announced by Rear Admiral Issah Adams Yakubu, Chief of Navy Staff, at the opening ceremony of a two-day Chief of the Naval Staff’s annual conference in Accra. The conference is themed “Adopting resourceful and Innovative Measures to Transform the Ghana Navy into a Modern and Robust Naval Force.” Yakubu said there is a need to prioritise innovation by empowering Naval personal at all level to bring forward new ideas – the conference provides one such opportunity for collective brainstorming to explore solutions to the challenges Ghana faces in the maritime sector and to define the way forward to achieve Agenda 2024. Commodore Godwin Livinus Bessing, The Chief Staff Officer of Nacy, said the conference would provide a platform for participants to contribute to the vision of and the strategic trajectory of the Navy.

Ghana’s Navy is already collaborating with the Ghana Air Force to enhance maritime air patrols. Yakubu said Agenda 2024 would encourage and facilitate services such as the Air Force and regional and international partners to take a more significant role in the sustainability of the strategy – “We will launch operation secure waters in partnership with local and international partners to ensure secured and safe maritime domain in the country and the continent”. Collaboration is necessary due to the international nature of criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.

Piracy remains the most visible issue of insecurity in the region. In 2020 the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 95 percent of all kidnappings at sea, and attempted attacks in the area increased by 39 from 2019. Nigeria has commenced an aggressive campaign in its waters with the $195 million Deep Blue Project, which is likely to push criminals to operate further offshore in more vulnerable and less patrolled waters.

Yakubu said that the threat posed by security challenges such as piracy should prompt a thorough re-examination of the strategies, tactics and tools needed to keep Ghana’s waters safe. As part of this, technology will be leveraged for Naval operations. Yakubu said the Navy would be equipping the Special Boat Squadron and Diving Unit with modern equipment for training and operations and satellite systems on ships for real-time date exchange.