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Norway signs agreement with coastal states in Africa

Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim will sign an agreement with six countries in Africa that will help them to gain jurisdiction over their own oil and gas resources.

Norway and Cape Verde will host the signing event in New York on Tuesday 21 September.

“We are seeking to ensure that countries in Africa have control over the resources in their own sea areas. This is an important contribution to the fight against poverty. We are delighted that these countries will now have better opportunities for development,” said Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development.

Establishing the limits of the continental shelf is crucial as this determines who can exploit resources such as oil and gas. Under the agreement, Norway will provide assistance to Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal in connection with the establishment of these countries’ continental shelves. These countries have in turn committed themselves to cooperating with one another. It is the outer limit of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles that is to be established.

“Agreement on the outer limit of the continental shelf will also increase the likelihood of cooperation between these countries in a vulnerable region that has been affected by war and terrible suffering,” said Mr Solheim.

The development of the international law of the sea after the Second World War has been an important factor for the development of Norway’s wealth and welfare state.

“Under the law of the sea, Norway gained control of its own seabed. Norway has valuable experience for countries in Africa, and is now in a position to help them to establish control of their own oil and gas resources,” said Mr Solheim.

Hans Wilhelm Longva has led the Norwegian efforts in this impressive work that will help several African countries to secure jurisdiction over their own natural resources.

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