H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and current African Union (AU) Chairperson, will deliver the keynote address at the 7th Tana Forum in April 2018 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The theme for this year, “Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union”, is expected to generate convergent views on Africa’s security delivery analyzed through the lens of AU reform.
Understanding ownership helps to strategically examine the roles and functions of external actors in the goals of peace-building and state-building. Ownership has acute political significance when presented in the context of relationships between power-holders and others; between developed countries and developing countries; and between Western states and non-Western states.
In July 2016, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government met in Kigali, Rwanda, and made a key decision on financing the Union, agreeing to implement a 0.2% levy on all eligible imported goods to the continent. The reform process, which will be implemented between 2017 and 2018, includes institutional reforms that will realign and manage the AU efficiently at both political and operational levels, and more importantly, make provision for a more sustainable funding for peace building in Africa.
The annual Forum was conceived by the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi. The Tana Forum is an independent initiative that seeks to provide an informal platform for African Heads of State and Government to engage in open and frank discussions with a wide spectrum of non-state stakeholders on the most pressing peace and security issues confronting the continent.
President Kagame recently noted, “Insecurity takes many forms, from terrorism to uncontrolled migration to divisive politics or even consequences of the failure to adapt to climate change. But whatever the challenge is, we can most successfully address it by working together.”
Previous keynote speakers have included Thabo Mbeki, Former President of South Africa, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2015) and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2016).
“We are pleased to have President Paul Kagame as our keynote speaker for this year’s Tana Forum,” says Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and outgoing Chairperson of the Tana Forum. “A long-time supporter of the Forum, President Kagame’s vision is to work together at a continental level in achieving a more efficient, self-reliant and more effective African Union.”
The informal nature of the Tana Forum lends a distinctive approach to discussing security issues on the continent. The Forum is not intended to deliver “official declarations”; instead, it is stimulated by the desire to engage in fresh, candid and in-depth discussions on pressing peace and security issues to produce innovative ideas, in addition to opening new windows of opportunities for solution
Also published on Medium.