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News ArticleCS
NEWS | March 20, 2023

NAVAF hosts first African Maritime Forces Summit in Cabo Verde

By Lt. Taija Griffin, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) Adm. Stuart B. Munsch is hosting more than 80 delegates, including the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and international heads of navies, coast guards, and naval infantries from 38 nations, for the inaugural African Maritime Forces Summit (AMFS) in Sal Island, Cabo Verde, March 20-22, 2023.

“The African Maritime Forces Summit demonstrates our commitment to supporting African-led solutions to the transnational maritime issues affecting Africa's coastal nations, which sit astride several of the world's most strategically important waterways. I am proud to join with allies and partners from four continents to discuss how our collective efforts can expand the zone of security, stability, and prosperity for the African people - and for us all,” said Munsch. 

AMFS is a strategic-level forum that brings maritime and naval infantry leaders together to address transnational maritime security challenges within African waters including the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea. AMFS is a new model for African senior leadership engagement, which combines the three senior leadership symposiums traditionally held during NAVAF’s annual regional express-series exercises into a single continent-wide event. 

The summit’s theme is “security at sea, enables stability ashore,” and it will offer opportunities for leaders to discuss strategic and operational approaches to maritime security including strengthening law enforcement, roles and missions of naval infantry, and region-specific initiatives. Delegates will also visit the Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) to observe shipboard firefighting demonstrations, joint U.S. Coast Guard and Cabo Verdean boarding drills, and simulated bomb-disposal robotics conducted by U.S. Marines. 

“We as a Navy aim to demonstrate the strategic and security benefits that derive from fully embracing the unique skills and capabilities that our Allies and partners have to offer.  The nations of Africa share the same united perspective of free and open sea lanes. Coming together in this unique forum to learn from each other bridges geographic and governmental gaps and strengthens our shared commitment to addressing African maritime security initiatives,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.  

Hosted in Sal Island, AMFS also builds off of the strong bilateral relationship between Cabo Verde and the United States. In December 2022, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for defense cooperation, which focuses on continuing to counter illicit maritime activities through security cooperation.

“Security and defense cooperation are as important as development assistance.  Maritime security will remain a priority for the Cabo Verdean government.  The U.S. – Cabo Verdean partnership reflects this,” said Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde Ulisses Correia e Silva. 

AMFS participating nations include Angola, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Italy, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants include heads of navy, coast guards, and naval infantries from four continents including Africa, Europe, North America, and South America. 

For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability. 

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility.  U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations. 

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