African officials share visions on peacebuilding, post-conflict development



Thu, 04 Jul 2024 - 03:47 GMT


Thu, 04 Jul 2024 - 03:47 GMT

CAIRO – 4 July 2024: The fourth edition of Aswan Forum for Peace and Development consisted of very rich discussions on consolidating stability in Africa, by pushing forward development endeavors and rehabilitating communities that endured conflict.


Peace and Security


Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki lamented that the majority of African regions were enduring civil war. "We have to take action. The AU law does not provide the tools to intervene and impose peace. African countries have to devise their own problem-solving mechanisms and not just rely on those of the United Nations," Faki stipluated.


As 2024 coincides with the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), a session was dedicated to discuss its role on the continent.


Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey suggested, devising mechanisms "to deal with a situation where a country’s leaders start fighting each other" in addition to empowering the council to assist countries with counterterrorism.


South Sudanese Foreign Minister Ramadan M. Abdallah Goc shared a very similar vision. The minister said, "the UNSC’s charter is not an ideal document…There are changes in West African countries, whose peoples are satisfied with. Yet, the ECOWAS’ pertinent decisions contradict the will of those peoples. That’s an example that the legal model of the UNSC is dysfunctional in Africa…From time to time, we need to reevaluate the model of the PSC and revisit sanctions imposed on AU member states."


The same point was raised by Congolese Foreign Minister Therese Kayikwamba Wagner who said, "we need to reconsider tools pertinent to reaching long-lasting peace in countries suspended and going through a transitional phase…The sanctions should be reconsidered either."


In a related context, the South Sudanese minister asserted that, "only African funding should be used in the resolution of African conflicts," adding that peace means development, which in turn requires funding. He equally noted that post-conflict programmes must be set in place.


On another level, Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security at AUC Bankole Adeoye showcased that a better reciprocation of intelligence information is essential to support the work of the PSC, which should also give attention to other challenges such as cybercrimes and climate change.


Peace and Development


In another session titled "The Peace-Development Nexus," Somalian Deputy Prime Minister Salah Juma gave an overview of his country's experience with civil war and terrorism committed by Al Shabab terrorist organization. "In 2011, when famine occurred, hundreds of thousands of citizens headed to Mogadishu…We had to address the issues that would trap Somalia in a vicious cycle of crises, and those were pertaining to infrastructure and human development among others," the minister stated.  


In regard of crises, CEO of AU Development Agency Nardos Bekele-Thomas underlined, "we need efficiency when dealing with resources as well as planning that involves forecasting as the cornerstone and crisis prevention as a priority."


As for causes behind crises, they were identified by Director-General of IOM Amy as poverty, lack of planning and climate change. "In Sahel, pastors are moving to farmer areas because the land is drying so that creates tensions…We should use data to identify areas vulnerable to drought and intervene on the front end instead of waiting until millions are displaced…Future options should be envisioned instead of relying on humanitarian action when a disaster happens leaving people unable to make a living and stripped of their dignity," the UN official elaborated.


Other recommendations are put forward by Under Secretary General and Special Advisor for Africa at the UN Cristina Duarte. "Globalization by nature produces imbalances so we need international policy-making tools that make globalization and multilateralism go hand on hand…We need to address the relationship between the state and the citizen…To achieve sustainable development, there must be a paradigm shift in mitigating the financial and economic flaws on the continent….Africa loses $400B per annum, which means it is capable of generating that amount…On the other hand, it is always in need of funding from outside sources…The continent needs the creation of 18 million jobs," Duarte said.


"It is essential that economic development programmes are specifically tailored for local communities…Those to be implemented during post-conflict periods should give care to mending social fractures," Minister of Planning and Economic Development in Sierra Leone Kenyeh Ballay stressed.


Director of Regional Integration Coordination Office at AfDB Maria Antonio Joy Kategekwa underscored that investing in infrastructure is necessary to push forward development and lure investments by the private sector. "There also must be focus on funding start-ups…The AfDB plans to invest $60 million in startups in Liberia," she added.


Manager of AU/AfCFTA Relations and Trade Policy at Afreximbank Adham AbdelAal underlined the salience of boosting trade in Africa as it is "a way to make money." He highlighted that 60% of Africans make only $1,100 per year on average, while

40% make around $4,000 per year on average.


Extremism and Terrorism


The experience of a number of African states with combating extremist thought that leads to terrorism was presented. Mali Minister of Religious Affairs Mahamadou Oumar Kone stated, "we trained 3,000 religious leaders to preach moderate Islam…The ministry consists of Muslims, Christians, and followers of non-Abrahamic religions…We are also giving care to micro-funding as it is necessary to alleviate poverty, and hence, make individuals less likely to adopt extremist thoughts."


Djibouti Minister of Islamic Affairs and Endowments Moumin Hassan Barreh asserted that the start with terrorism eradication should be since childhood. The same point was shared by Executive Director of the UNOCD Ghada Waly who showcased that female preachers were essential in combating extremist thoughts in households by influencing mothers and children.


Moreover, Executive Director of Neem Foundation Fatima Akilu highlighted that mental health was crucial to eradicate extremism.


Giving a glimpse into the impact of terror in Africa, Director of Conflict Management Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department at AUC Alhadji Sarjoh Bah stated that 7,000 casualties occurred across the continent in 2023 because of terrorism, and that 4,000 security individuals were attacked. On a positive note, "Boko Haram is on the back foot" among other terrorist groups, he pointed out.


Instability in Horn of Africa


"We’re ready for elections by the end of the year…We can’t go from an interim government to another…We work with the Sudanese authorities to avoid a spillover…We are not taking sides," South Sudanese Foreign Minister Ramadan M. Abdallah Goc stated.


As for its neighboring country, Sudanese Peace Commissioner Suleiman M. Al Dabello highlighted that 12 million had been internally displaced in addition to 2-3 million who fled the country to neighboring states. The commissioner called for assistance with "fighting a militia that hires foreign mercenaries."


Assistant to High Commissioner of UNHCR for Operations Raouf Mazou showcased that the number of Africans internally displaced jumped from five million in the past years to 25 million at present. To partially contain the phenomenon, the UN officiat stressed that development actors must be present since the start of any conflict.


Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh said that "most atrocities in the Horn of Africa is the outcome of unfinished business…Darfur was an unresolved issue in the peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan." She further added that "agreements require political action that ensures written commitments are implemented…Setting deadlines is crucial to avoid delays that incur resolving issues through conflicts."


Tetteh equally pointed out that the great majority of the Horn of Africa is either arid or semi-arid making it vulnerable to resource-related conflict saying, "climate action is a must." It is noted that only 4-10 percent of the region are arable lands.




The events in the region have been divisive in terms of response by different countries. For instance, Executive-Secretary of Liptako-Gourma Authority Hawa Aw said, "ECOWAS has no right to wage war against one its members like what happened in Mali and Niger…It is not right to demonize military leaders. They played a role in preserving the state from falling into chaos."


On the other hand, European Union Special Representative of the Sahel Emanuela Del Re said, " We, as western countries, cannot tolerate restrictions on civil liberties. That constrains our ability to indulge in dialogue. Yet, we do talk openly. We continue to be partners. We have principles. These principles dictate that we support communities. It is not easy. But, we realize how important it is to be partners."


"In spite of attacks on our headquarters and labeling of individuals as non-grata, the EU is determined to continue joint projects in Sahel countries…We also still provide humanitarian aid," Del Re added.


Regarding support to Sahel states in general, CEO of the Belgian Development Agency Jean Van Wetter underscored the necessity of backing development in land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) noting that regional integration was crucial to overcome the economic challenges they faced. He shed light that the agency, for instance, funded an enterprise led by a woman to make dairy products to substitute imports.


About Aswan Forum 

​Aswan Forum is organized by Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA). The forum brings together heads of states, senior governmental officials, international and regional organizations, financial institutions, private sector, and civil society. 


The center, founded in 1994 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an Egyptian public agency specialized in training, capacity-building, and research in the fields of security and peace in Africa and the Middle East. It is also an African Union Center of Excellence. 


Director-General of CCCPA Ambassdor Ahmed Abdel Latif expressed appreciation to all speakers, attendees, and partners that are AfDB, Afreximbank, EU, IOM, UNHCR, UNDP, UNESCO, JICA, UN Women, UNU-CPR, ICRC, La Francophonie, and Spanish Agency for International Development.




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