• Lisa Otto University of Johannesburg


In the years since the end of the Cold War, a growing body of literature has emerged discussing the nexus between development and security, holding that these are linked closely and mutually reinforcing. Thinking around the security–development nexus has been extended into the maritime domain, with an increasing recognition of the connection and interdependence of the land and sea, and that secure seas are seen as a vital condition for positive development trajectories emanating from the Blue Economy. This sentiment is increasingly reflected in domestic and regional maritime security strategies and policies, including in the African Union’s African Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 (AIMS 2050). Despite its leadership in developing a maritime security strategy for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), it can be argued that security is dangerously underplayed in South Africa’s key maritime project, Operation Phakisa. This article presents an analysis of the development–security nexus at sea, an assessment of South Africa’s approach to its maritime security, and the results of a careful examination of Operation Phakisa. The article concludes that there is an urgent need for a review of South Africa’s maritime arena, to truly understand challenges emanating from the sea and how these will affect the development South Africa wishes to derive from it.

Author Biography

Lisa Otto, University of Johannesburg
Senior Researcher, South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair: African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy