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Herbert Mensah announces candidacy for President of Rugby Africa, promise good representation

Herbert Mensah, sports administrator, and President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union, today announced his candidacy for President of the World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, the governing body of rugby in Africa. Rugby Africa will be electing a new president at the Annual General Meeting to be held in Cape Town on 18 March 2023.

The President will be elected for a period of four years commencing immediately after the results are announced by the executive committee on 18 March 2023. This will also be the first time in the history of Rugby Africa that elections will be contested.

The Nigeria Rugby Football Federation nominated Mensah to run for President. Mensah, a current member of the Africa Rugby Executive Committee, is also an accomplished businessman with many years of experience in the business and sports sectors in Africa.

In 2014, Mensah took the helm at the Ghana Rugby Football Union where he significantly increased awareness around the sport while injecting much enthusiasm for players and officials, as well as encouraging the youth to participate in rugby through numerous initiatives and activities. He was instrumental in spearheading the national team’s qualification to the World Series, after they won the West Africa competition, before moving on to the African championship.

Mensah’s vision is to build a positive and strong brand for Rugby Africa and to make rugby more accessible and visible to all Africans, in particular the youth. He would like to see an increase in continental competitions and greater support of member associations in terms of how they are structured and in the economic development of the sport.

Currently, less than 30 percent of rugby players in Africa are women. Mensah’s strategic plan is to broaden the reach and appeal of rugby, raising the profile and image of women rugby players and officials, while ensuring that all structures further reflect the diversity and inclusion of the sport. He also wants to provide greater cohesion between English and French-speaking countries, both in terms of sport and governance.

Commenting on his candidacy Mensah said, “I am extremely humbled to be nominated to run for President, and I am overwhelmed by the good wishes from my colleagues and peers. I am immensely proud as an African, to be given a chance to represent Africa on a global platform. African rugby has historically not received the recognition it deserves, and I look forward to the opportunity to use this platform to create meaningful change, while promoting a better understanding of the game on the continent, and beyond, and to encourage greater support of rugby across the entire African continent. If elected, my tenure will be one marked with service to Africa Rugby and the rugby and sports fraternity at large on the continent.”

2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from September to October. Mensah hopes to use this world-class platform to collaborate with leading international rugby bodies and other associations to raise awareness around African Rugby while gaining much-needed support for the sport. Rugby will be one of the first competitions on show at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where Mensah hopes to see more representation from African teams in the qualifying events.



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Announcing Africa Accelerating 2023 in Toronto: October 10-12

The three-day conference will address and advance the immense opportunities for rapidly accelerating Canada-Africa trade and investment ties.

‘’The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city while offering an enabling platform for networking, B2B meetings, and dealmaking in and around the 3-day program,’’ said Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

Last year’s 2022 Africa Accelerating conference in Johannesburg, South Africa – sponsored by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd – took place under the theme, Leading from Africa: Toward a new global era enabled through Canada-Africa Collaboration.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who addressed the event in October, joined by government heads, African Union leaders, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs.

The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city

Registration for Africa Accelerating 2023 opens on 16 January 2023. The official theme to be announced will encompass raising investment capital, trade opportunities, new business partnerships, infrastructure, and responsible resource development – building on the track record and lessons learned on the foundation of billions already invested into African markets, through Canada.

Africa Accelerating 2023 will once again include a live interactive virtual participation option. Plenary proceedings will be broadcast to 47 countries, with a reach of an estimated 20 million viewers – showcasing the immense opportunities for all through the acceleration of Canada-Africa trade and investment.

‘’Toronto is a gateway to North American markets and directly connected by air to the African continent,’’ noted Garreth Bloor. ‘’For all joining us in person, our host city provides vital linkages to project partners and investors, driving the two-way trade and investment for deal-making that is at the core of our action-driven agenda for Africa Accelerating 2023.’’


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Regional Security: ECOWAS Defence Chiefs to hold Extraordinary Session in Bissau

The Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will be meeting in Bissau, Guinea Bissau on December 19, 2020. The meeting will be preceded by the meeting of ECOWAS Heads of Operations and Chiefs of Intelligence, which will hold December 17 and 18, 2022 respectively.

The Defence Chiefs will be discussing and considering the security situation in the Region and other issues.

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U.S. Ambassador supports Community-Based Projects throughout Sierra Leone

United States Ambassador David Reimer recognized grantees who received grants totaling USD 40,000 to eight Sierra Leonean-led community organizations that work to improve economic and social conditions at the local level.  The funds will support projects in seven districts east, west, north, and south of Sierra Leone.  Projects receiving funds this year include:

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is one way that the U.S. Embassy supports economic development in Sierra Leone

  • Programs to support adolescent girls and women with limited economic opportunities through skills training
  • Programs to provide clean water and conduct campaigns to promote hygiene best practices to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases
  • Programs to support income generation and food security through aquaculture, rice cultivation, plantain, and banana cultivation, and grain store construction

Ambassador Reimer congratulated the grantees and noted the important role played by the communities themselves, who are actively engaged in the planning and implementation of each project.  These initiatives are funded by the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help (SSH) Program, which supports small, community-based projects throughout Africa.  These projects are designed in cooperation with community members, who contribute their own resources, usually in the form of labor and in-kind donations.

Ambassador Reimer said, “The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is one way that the U.S. Embassy supports economic development in Sierra Leone.  We do so by working directly with grass-roots leaders like yourselves to implement projects in your communities. This is one of my favorite programs because it allows us to respond directly to community requests and fund projects that immediately impact communities in Sierra Leone.  The key is that they are Sierra Leonean-led development projects, and we would like to see more of those in the future.

For more information on the Ambassador’s SSH Program and other small grant opportunities, please visit the Embassy’s website at

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East African religious leaders meet over ongoing conflict in DRC

Religious leaders met on Saturday in Goma following the violence that resulted in at least 50 deaths in eastern DRC.

On Thursday, the military accused the M23 rebel movement of the deaths and breaching a recently brokered ceasefire.

“Our effective commitment to the inter-faith project for peace in North Kivu, our support for the authorities of the province in their efforts to seek peace and the peaceful coexistence of communities, our appeal to all of the faithful, in particular the population in general, to get involved in the promotion of peace. Our determination to say each week in our parishes and mosques a common prayer on the ecumenical peace of the French saint of Assisi”, said Rev. Samuel Ngahiembako, President of the ECC (L’Eglise du Christ au Congo: Church of Christ in Congo, Ed.)

On Friday, DRC president Felix Tshisekedi declared three days of national mourning following the violence.

Local resident Amani Fundiko, added “I have so many worries because we have no peace, no joy to see our compatriots being killed in Rutshuru, Runyonyi, Rugari, everywhere there, our wish is that the President takes decisions to take charge of this situation and see if they can put an end to the M23, even look at the Goma-Rutshuru road, it is blocked. The situation is very complicated and we are hungry”, he said.

The M23 rebel movement re-emerged last year in November claiming the government had not stuck to the terms of the peace deal

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COP27: Commonwealth Secretary-General to Attend Global Climate Summit In Egypt

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has called on member countries to uphold global climate change commitments and take decisive action to tackle the gaps in implementation, ahead of next week’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).

The Secretary-General will head a delegation to attend the world’s largest annual gathering of leaders around the issue of climate change, which takes place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6 to 18 November.

At the summit, Secretary-General Scotland will advocate for ramped-up climate action through more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), national plans and targets. She will also seek to amplify the shared concerns of the 56 Commonwealth countries, including crucial issues around climate finance, sustainable energy transition, loss and damage, and partnerships and coordinated action.

Ahead of her arrival in Egypt on 5th November, the Secretary-General stated:

“COP27 takes place in the midst of overlapping, interlinked, and accelerating global challenges. The lasting impacts of COVID-19 combine with the effects of conflict, including in Ukraine, to destabilize global economic, energy and food systems.  Against this backdrop, the climate crisis has continued to worsen, and its profound impacts are being felt by families, communities and countries across the Commonwealth.

“I understand the pressure world leaders are under, but I urge all decision-makers, advocates, and allies at COP27 to ensure the promises already made are delivered, and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to the urgent threat of climate change. We must never lose sight of the crushing consequences of inaction, for the millions who face the dangers of climate change every day, and for generations to come. We need urgent action now.”

We must build on the substantive progress made at the previous COP26 summit, and urgently translate these commitments into action

Thirty-two of the total 56 Commonwealth member countries are small states, including 25 small island developing states, while 14 are classified as least developed countries – among the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.

Commonwealth heads of government recognise that developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states are particularly at risk of their development gains being reversed by the impacts of climate change.

During their meeting ( in Kigali, Rwanda in June, they called on developed countries to deliver on their promise to jointly mobilize US$100 billion per year to support developing countries in coping with climate change, stressing the importance of transparency in implementing their pledges.

The Secretary-General added:

“We must build on the substantive progress made at the previous COP26 summit, and urgently translate these commitments into action. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius requires rapid, deep, and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. But to achieve this, developing countries will need enhanced support.”

The COP27 event will also provide the opportunity to raise awareness about Commonwealth initiatives that support member countries to tackle climate change, such as the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (, the Commonwealth Blue Charter (, the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda ( and the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter: Call to Action on Living Lands (

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OPINION: Why climate cash could make or break COP27 By Mohamed Adow

International climate change conferences are weighty enterprises — they must stand on solid pillars of action, not just warm words and hot air. Starting on Sunday, the United Nations climate meeting in Egypt, COP27, will be no different. And no pillar is more important for Africa than international climate finance.

This year’s meeting of world leaders has been christened the “Africa COP”, not because the continent is playing host, but because it is increasingly taking many of the biggest hits from the effects of climate change while having done the least to cause the crisis. Africa emits only about three percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. This year we need to see African priorities at the heart of global negotiations.

Previous pledges by developed countries, the biggest carbon emitters, to channel $100bn a year by 2020 towards helping vulnerable nations adapt to climate change have gone unfulfilled.

Yet, even if rich countries were meeting their commitments, that wouldn’t be nearly enough. Africa alone faces a climate-financing gap of about $108bn each year, according to the African Development Bank, amid growing economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Rich nations need to step up further.

But here’s the biggest problem: The very structure of global climate finance currently is loaded against countries that need the most help. Polluters are rewarded. Meanwhile, the more vulnerable a country is, the less support it is likely to receive.

The dirty truth of climate finance

Most financial support is promised in the form of loans, shackling some of the world’s poorest countries with crippling debt. According to new research by Oxfam, Senegal, which is among the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, has so far received 85 percent of its climate finance in the form of debt. This – is even though the West African nation is at moderate risk of falling into debt distress and has debt amounting to 62 percent of its gross national income.

Oxfam says loans constitute more than 70 percent ($48.6bn) of public climate finance. How can it be fair that countries that have done almost nothing to cause the climate crisis are being pushed into debt in order to adapt to it?

If that’s the state of public finance, things are even worse with the private sector. Private funding decisions are still influenced by perceptions that view poor and vulnerable countries as risky investment destinations. As a consequence, Africa receives less than 4 percent of private climate finance even though many of its nations are on the front line of the crisis.

It’s also very difficult to attract climate finance that enables leapfrogging to renewable energy projects in Africa. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Africa has received only 2 percent of global renewable energy investments over the past two decades.

Africa’s burden

This current structure of climate finance is self-defeating, in its failure to help those that need assistance the most. It is also deeply unfair, as Africa knows only too well.

Besides having a smaller carbon footprint than other continents, Africa also absorbs global emissions, through ‘carbon sinks’ such as the Congo Basin — the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon.

Yet, the continent is highly dependent on climate-vulnerable operations such as agriculture, hydropower production and tourism, exposing it to disruptions from extreme weather events, including worsening droughts and floods — all apart from environmental degradation.

In early October, African ministers gathered in Kinshasa for negotiations ahead of the COP27 summit. They, as well as UN officials, called out the broken promises on finance at the meeting. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said: “The finance currently available is a pittance with respect to the magnitude of disasters vulnerable nations and people are facing and will face.”

What COP27 needs

At last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, climate finance was a muted issue; not because it wasn’t raised, but because rich economies like the United States and the European Union conveniently turned a blind eye to it. That is unacceptable.

The COP27 conference should rest on the pillar of climate finance, among other strategic areas. And this time, rich nations should be legally bound to follow through on their pledges. This shouldn’t be viewed as a favour from the polluters; it’s what they owe the rest of the world.

International climate finance initiatives that COP27 agrees to must span funding support to help poorer and vulnerable nations mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to them. They must also cover the third key component of climate finance — addressing losses and damages caused by the crisis.

To this end, COP27 should set out to establish a financing facility focused on loss and damage, and swiftly take steps to operationalize it. Further, a consensus is needed in making this finance grant-based to avoid piling a debt burden on African countries.

Reasons for hope

Despite the odds, there is a growing appetite for financing and investing in African climate projects. Big-ticket green projects have been built in recent years, and many more are taking shape.

In East Africa, Kenya is focusing on geothermal development and recently set up the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project, which helped offset 0.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions in its first year of operation – that’s more than 4 percent of Kenya’s total annual emissions. The country has also committed to transitioning entirely to renewable energy by 2030. Ethiopia is in the process of developing its own geothermal resources.

In the north, Morocco recently started operating the first phase of Noor II, a mega solar project with a capacity in excess of 300MW.

A sustainable switch to a green global economy would, in addition to producing clean energy, also create new jobs while offering fallback options to those whose jobs disappear in this transition.

Yet increased funding and investments are still hampered by a negative perception of risk among investors, underdeveloped green finance markets — and most of all, by the very model of climate finance that punishes the nations most exposed to climate change.

This must change. Climate finance must be a central conversation at COP27. It’s time that this support reaches those who actually need it the most now — so we can build a better tomorrow for all of us.



The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect African  Development Magazine’s editorial stance.


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Algeria hosts first Arab summit since Israel normalization deals

Leaders from the Arab world will meet for the first time since a string of normalization deals with Israel left the already divided region even more fractured.

Since the last Arab League summit in 2019, several members of the 22-member bloc – for decades a forum for strident declarations of support for the Palestinian cause – have normalized ties with the Jewish state.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) went first in a historic U.S.-mediated deal that made the country the third Arab state, after Egypt and Jordan, to establish full ties with Israel.

The UAE’s move sparked similar accords with Bahrain and Morocco – and a provisional agreement with Sudan – deepening Morocco’s decades-old rivalry with its neighbor Algeria.

The host of the summit on Tuesday and Wednesday remains a steadfast supporter of the Palestinians, even mediating a reconciliation deal in October between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.

While few believe that deal will last, it was seen as a public relations coup for Algeria, which has been seeking more regional clout on the back of its growing status as a gas exporter.

This week’s summit will be another opportunity for President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to do just that.

He has rolled out the red carpet for his guests, whom he will host for a sumptuous opening dinner on Tuesday at 6:00 pm (5 p.m. GMT).

Charm offensive

The main roads of Algiers have been decked out with Arab flags and huge billboards welcoming “brother Arabs”.

“Algerian foreign policy has gone on the offensive on the regional, African and Arab levels,” said Geneva-based expert Hasni Abidi.

But Algeria has also been unnerved by Morocco’s security and defense cooperation with Israel, adding to decades of mistrust fuelled by a dispute over Western Sahara.

The status of Western Sahara – a former Spanish colony considered a “non-self-governing territory” by the United Nations – has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front since the 1970s.

In August 2021, Algiers cut diplomatic ties with Rabat alleging “hostile acts”.

Participants in the summit face the challenge of formulating a final resolution, which has to be passed unanimously.

With conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen also on the agenda, sources say foreign ministers are trying to reach a consensus on the wording around Turkish and Iranian “interference” in the region — and whether to mention Ankara and Tehran by name or not.

“The paradox of this summit is that it’s being billed as a unifying event, whereas each Arab state actually has its own agenda and goals fitting its interests,” Abidi said.

“So ultimately the Arab League is the perfect mirror of Arab foreign policy.”

That point is underlined by the absence of several key figures, notably Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, reported to have an ear infection, and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will also stay away, according to Arab media.

“The Arab states which have normalized with Israel are not enthusiastic about the idea of a coming together to condemn their position,” said Abidi.

“Tebboune’s move to put the Palestinian issue front and center hasn’t reassured them”, he said.

Syria’s membership

Another source of controversy has been Algeria’s efforts to bring Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime back into the Arab League, a decade after its membership was suspended amid a brutal crackdown on 2011 Arab Spring-inspired protests.

Abidi said inviting Syria to the summit would have been “highly risky”.

“Algeria realized the consequences of such a presence on the summit. Together with Damascus, it has given up on its initiative,” he said.

Pierre Boussel of France’s Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) said Syria’s return to the League is backed by Russia, an ally of both Algiers and Damascus.

But, he said, “Russia has decided not to try to force this through in a way that would have affected its relations with Arab countries already badly scalded by the economic impact of the Ukrainian conflict”.

Commodity importers, notably Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan, have been hit especially hard by soaring prices, even as energy-producing Arab states have seen their coffers swell.

Boussel said the “shockwave” of the Ukraine war, which has disrupted key grain imports for the region from the Black Sea, was being felt in Algiers.

“Given the scarcity of cereals, soaring inflation and concerns about new energy routes, the Arab League needs to show it is capable of cohesion and inter-state solidarity, which it has lacked since the beginning of the crisis,” he said.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called Friday for an “integrated Arab vision” to tackle the pressing food security challenges.

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Survey: China seen as the last hope and positive force for Africans

A new global public opinion survey of people in 25 countries has revealed steep declines in support for China, although Beijing still is seen favorably by many in Africa, where it is vying for influence with Washington.

The survey by the Britain-based YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project was carried out between August and September this year, polling about 1,000 people in each country, including in three large African states: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The survey asked people about their opinions on China, the United States, and Taiwan.

The data showed that in the West, support for China has dropped considerably in the past four years. One reason for that could be the pandemic. When respondents were asked about where it originated, most people placed the blame for the outbreak of COVID-19 squarely on China.

More people in Africa believe China is a positive influence on the world compared with many Western countries, according to a survey by the Britain-based YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project.
More people in Africa believe China is a positive influence on the world compared with many Western countries, according to a survey by the Britain-based YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project.

Asked if China had a “generally positive or negative effect on world affairs” only 17% of respondents in France said it was positive, down from 36% in the first survey in 2019. In Germany, that figure was even lower, at 13%, down from 30% four years ago.

Many other Western countries mirrored this trend, but the story is slightly different in Africa, where China is the continent’s largest trading partner. Although its ranking also dropped slightly over the four-year period in Nigeria and South Africa, across the continent, China was still widely seen as a force for good.

In South Africa 61% of respondents saw China’s influence in the world as positive, in Kenya the support for China was higher at 82% and, in Nigeria, it was highest out of the three, standing at 83%.

Still, despite Beijing’s no-strings loans and large infrastructure projects as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, African support for the U.S. remained slightly higher.

In South Africa, 69% of people interviewed saw the U.S. as a generally positive force, and in both Kenya and Nigeria that number was at 88%.

Preferred superpower

On a separate question about which country, China or the U.S., respondents would prefer to have as the global superpower, 20 of the 25 countries polled chose the U.S., including all four African nations by a huge margin.

Seventy-seven percent of Nigerians chose the U.S. as the preferred superpower, as did 80% of Kenyans, and to a lesser extent 59% of South Africans.

“Results from the African countries in this study stand out for how they reflect such positive views toward both America and China as actors on the world stage,” Joel Rogers de Waal, academic director at YouGov, told VOA.

“At the same time, however, they show an obvious preference for having America, rather than China, as the reigning superpower, which perhaps raises some interesting questions about the progress of Chinese soft power in these parts of Africa.”

On other, more specific questions, the U.S. fared less favorably. For example, asked which country had engaged in “bullying” behavior globally, Washington trumped Beijing in all three African nations.

Likewise on the question of which country has “given military support to one side or another in a foreign civil war, in ways that do more harm than good to the people of that country.” Africans blamed the U.S. for this more than China. And in terms of being suspected of interference in other countries’ national elections, the U.S. again fared worse than China.

And although Washington increasingly warns Africa and the world of the threat of Chinese spying and surveillance, respondents in both South Africa and Nigeria placed more blame for international cyberattacks on the U.S.

Question of Taiwan

While China was more popular among African and many other global South countries surveyed than it was in the West, that support was not unconditional.

The survey was conducted around the time Taiwan was in the news amid the controversial visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the contested island. Since then, Washington has warned that China could move to annex Taiwan sooner than expected.

In Beijing, at the Chinese Communist Party’s congress, President Xi Jinping said he reserved the option of taking “all measures necessary” on the issue of Taiwan.

While the vast majority of African governments do not have diplomatic relations with Taipei and back Beijing—which regards the self-governing island as part of greater China—the survey indicates ordinary Africans differ with their political leaders on the issue.

“If China used force against Taiwan … do you think other countries should provide help?” the poll asked. Some 60% of Nigerians thought help should be provided to Taiwan, while 63% of Kenyans agreed, as did 47% of South Africans.

Those numbers were higher even than in some Western countries, with only 38% of French people surveyed saying help should be provided to Taiwan, and just 52% of respondents in the U.S. agreeing.

The data indicates that global politics are not as binary as some believe, with ordinary people in Africa able to see China as a generally positive force in the world, while also expressing concerns about some of its policies. as well as support for the defense of Taiwan.

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Leaders, Experts, Others attend International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security

Policymakers from around the world met Monday and Tuesday in Senegal to discuss Africa’s most pressing security challenges. This year, attendees of an annual conference focused on redefining the role international partners play in promoting stability in Africa.

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

Attendees included the heads of state from Cape Verde, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau, as well as high-ranking 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 International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security, Oct. 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)
More than 1,000 heads of state, security experts, military, and other officials attended the eighth edition of the International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security, Oct. 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)

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

If U.N. peacekeepers are being attacked on their own bases, they can’t 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 employment for Africa’s growing youth population.

The conference took place in the wake of France’s withdrawal of military forces from Mali and ongoing criticism of U.N. missions throughout the region.

Militant Islamic violence in Africa has doubled since 2019, with a record 6,300 incidents in 2022 – a 21 percent increase over last year, according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a U.S. Department of Defense research group. The Sahel has been the most impacted, with violent events quadrupling over the same period.

Across the continent close to 15,000 people have died this year from extremist-linked violence, a nearly 50 percent increase from 2019.

Stimson Center fellow Aude Darnal is pictured at the eighth edition of the International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security on Oct. 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)
Stimson Center fellow Aude Darnal is pictured at the eighth edition of the International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security on Oct. 24, 2022. (Annika Hammerschlag/VOA)
Aude Darnal, a fellow with the Stimson Center, a Washington research organization, said of the violence, “Solutions need to be defined by local actors. They also need to be implemented by local actors. International stakeholders should support, but the leadership needs to come from Africa.”

Nadia Adam, a Sahel analyst for the nonprofit Center for Civilians in Conflict, said solutions must be built from the inside. “Most African countries, especially the youth, now want to make decisions for themselves,” she said. “They want to be part of the change. And they have the capacity. More people are educated.”

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

Government officials attending the conference reiterated that message.

Chidi Blyden is the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for African affairs. In a speech, she quoted a Creole saying from Sierra Leone, which translates to “When and if there’s a problem, look exactly where you’re standing.”

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

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



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