Participants in the National Security Symposium 2017, which ended on Wednesday, have highlighted the crucial need for ownership of African problems by Africans themselves to achieve peace and sustainable development on the continent.
The general observation was that African countries need to develop strong cooperation and collaboration in order to effectively deal with internal conflicts, armed groups, terrorism and other challenges affecting security on the continent.
The 3-day discussions held in Musanze were marked by researched presentations and deep discussions. Senior Command and Staff Course (SCSC) 5 had the opportunity to interact with high level policy makers, security practitioners at strategic and operational levels, subject-matter experts and scholars in security studies.
The SCSC5 was attended by 47 senior officers from 11 African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda).
In his closing remarks, Defence Minister James Kabarebe congratulated the participants for the fruitful discussions.
“I am confident that the topics that have been discussed here, the vast knowledge and experience shared by the various speakers have definitely added on the package students will take home from this college”, Kabarebe observed. “The ideas and strategies devised during this symposium constitute a good basis for further research and actions towards addressing security issues in our respective countries and areas of responsibility.”
On the closing day, the repositioning Africa as an equal partner in international affairs was discussed by Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Defence Minister James Kabarebe and the Speaker of the East Africa Legistlative Assembly, Daniel Fred Kidega.
Afterwards, Finance Minister Claver Gatete and CEO of the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, Francis Gatare, provided insight in Africa’s journey towards an aid-free economy as a prerequisite for sustainable peace, security and development.
Other topics discussed in previous days are eradicating armed groups in the Great Lakes Region: challenges and way forward; UN Peace Support Operations assessment; contemporary approaches to fighting terrorism; cyber security; as well as climate change and its implications for Africa’s security and development.
“The symposium has broadened our knowledge on how we are going to safeguard our continent and how we can cooperate and collaborate with outside world and what are the interests of our countries to have a better stand in the world,” commented Lt Col H Chilenga, a SCSC5 student from Malawi.