Security Forum focuses on stability challenges in Africa

Politicians from around the world gathered Monday and Tuesday in Senegal to discuss Africa‘s most pressing security challenges. This year, participants in an annual conference focused on redefining the role that international partners play in promoting stability in Africa.

More than 1,000 people participated in the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security.

Among the participants were the heads of state of Cape Verde, Angola and Guinea-Bissau, as well as senior officials from Japan, Saudi Arabia and France.

More than 1,000 heads of state, security experts, military and other officials attended the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on October 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

The event opened with a speech by Senegalese President and African Union Chairperson Macky Sall, who spoke about the need to re-examine modern peace operations.

If UN peacekeepers are attacked on their own bases, they cannot be expected to protect local populations, he said.

“Threats to peace and stability lie in the deep economic crisis that is shaking the world,” Sall said. “Millions of people can no longer bear the cost of living, and others fall into extreme poverty, with no hope of a better future.”

The solution, he said, is to educate and create jobs for Africa’s growing youth population.

The conference took place following France’s withdrawal of military forces from Mali and continued criticism of UN missions throughout the region.

Militant Islamic violence in Africa has doubled since 2019, with a record 6,300 incidents in 2022, a 21% increase from last year, according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a research group at the department. American Defense. The Sahel was the most affected, with violent events quadrupling over the same period.

Across the continent, nearly 15,000 people have died this year as a result of violence linked to extremism, an increase of almost 50% compared to 2019.

Stimson Center Fellow Aude Darnal is pictured during the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on October 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

Stimson Center Fellow Aude Darnal is pictured during the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on October 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

Aude Darnal, a member of the Stimson Center, a research organization in Washington, said of the violence: “Solutions must be defined by local actors. They must also be implemented by local actors. International stakeholders must support, but leaders must come from Africa.

Nadia Adam, Sahel analyst for the nonprofit Center for Civilians in Conflict, said solutions must be built from within. “Most African countries, especially the young ones, now want to make decisions on their own,” she said. “They want to be part of the change. And they have the ability. More people are educated.

Nadia Adam, Sahel analyst for the nonprofit Center for Civilians in Conflict, attended the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on October 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

Nadia Adam, Sahel analyst for the nonprofit Center for Civilians in Conflict, attended the eighth edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on October 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

Government officials present at the conference reiterated this message.

Chidi Blyden is the US Under Secretary of Defense for African Affairs. In a speech, she quoted a Creole saying from Sierra Leone, which translates to “When and if there is a problem, look exactly where you are standing.”

“Some of the problems lie there, but more importantly, the solution probably lies there as well,” she said. “The continent is full of African solutions to global problems.

The forum also discussed how to reduce Africa’s dependence on international food aid and become more resilient to external shocks, such as the war in Ukraine.

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