The 2018 Tana High-Level Forum on security in Africa took place at the Blue Nile Resort, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The event was themed ‘Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union’ and it spanned from 2o to 22 April. It brought together high-level decision-makers on peace and security from all over the continent. Here are takeaways from the just concluded forum:
- Africa needs to be self-reliant in order to achieve its Pan-African integration agenda that will help address the rapidly changing security context in the continent. This means the operationalization and consolidation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) must remain a priority.
- Competition over scarce resources stemming from the discovery of oil, gas, mineral, iron ore, and the land rush to secure food and commodities in Africa has become the new causes of conflict in pastoral areas in African countries.
- Africa’s leaders need to have a Pan-African mentality to guarantee a united front. The African Union as a governing authority needs to reexamine the state of affairs in the continent, get things in the right order and have a clear sense of direction.
- Harmonization and convergence in the policies of member states will allow for more coherence, harmonization, predictability and coordination of policies and practices at the continental level.
- Decentralization and infrastructural development is essential in bringing a lasting solution to the state of affairs in African nations. Resources that are concentrated in central areas need to be spread to other area in various nations.
- The African Union needs to get active in its goal to have a better and safe Africa, in order to justify the reason why they exist. the AU needs to put in place measures and systems that support and contribute a shared understanding of ownership, financing, accountability, evaluation and monitoring of the security provisions in the member states and on the continent.
- In the framework of the AU, dependency on international partners for the provision of funding sometimes undermines AU’s political legitimacy and credibility. AU would have to address the heavy dependence on external partners and actors that has become the norm.
- Member States would have to commit new and creative ways of pursuing collective responsibility in peace and security within the limitations imposed by sovereignty and unilateralism.
Summarily, the African Union still has a lot to do in ensuring the safety of its peoples. However, the Tana Forum suggests that with dedication to the pan-African cause, appropriate integration of the right mechanisms and a clear-caught vision, Africa would attain its right position in the world and keeping peace and security on the continent.