Saturday, January 14, 2017 9:43 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday called for the strengthening of African Defence mechanisms to enable the continent tackle its security and financial challenges.
Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, said Buhari made the call in a statement issued at the 27th Africa-France Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence taking place in Bamako, Mali.
President Buhari said the call had become imperative in view of the need to transform decisions arising from the Partnership to concrete action plans that would help Africa confront and overcome its challenges.
“In particular, our cooperation should strengthen our Defence in the context of African Peace and Security Architecture, as well as in the areas of intelligence sharing, capacity building and acquisition of military hardware needed to confront the security challenges of the African continent.”
The President noted that the partnership between the African continent and France had yielded fruits in many positive ways, but that France could do more to help Africa overcome its challenges.
He listed some of the challenges to include terrorism, maritime insecurity, trafficking in persons, trafficking in weapons, drugs, cyber insecurity, illicit financial flows and infrastructural deficit, which he said had continued to militate against Africa’s comprehensive infrastructural and economic development.
“France has been playing important roles in the areas of development, as well as peace and security on the African continent.
“While so many gains have been made, challenges such as terrorism, maritime insecurity, trafficking in persons, trafficking in weapons, drugs, cyber insecurity, illicit financial flows, and infrastructural deficit continue to militate against Africa’s comprehensive infrastructural and economic development,” he noted.
According to him, those challenges also hinder the emergence of the continent as an important player in global affairs.”
The Nigerian President also called for intensification of efforts that would stimulate the African economy, address social imbalance and steer its youths away from high risk and unproductive ventures.
“Efforts should also be geared towards the development and emergence of the continent through investments in critical sectors such as Education, Power, Solid Minerals, Agriculture and ICT.
“This will enable African economies to spur productivity and create employment, thereby addressing some of the socio-economic conditions that contribute to gender inequality, radicalism and youth restiveness,” he said.
While declaring that African countries were taking their own destinies in their own hands by mobilizing resources, Buhari hoped that the Partnership would still do more for Africa.
“As we continue to mobilize for our own sustainable, predictable and transparent sources of finance that would help the continent pursue its peace, security and development efforts and address the infrastructural deficit impeding development on the continent, there is the need for this Partnership to continue to assist Africa on how to finance its development,” said Buhari.
French President Francois Hollande had hailed Mali as an “example” in the fight against terrorism at the opening of the Summit on Saturday.
Hollande said that the West African country had shown the world “there is no fatality in the face of terrorism.”
“Four years ago, Bamako was under the threat of a wide terrorist hold,” the French presidency quoted Hollande as saying.
“Today, terrorists no longer control any territory” in Mali, the president added.
More than 30 African leaders were due to attend the summit, including Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow, whom the meeting was expected to back in his attempts to be sworn in on Jan. 19, despite outgoing President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to give up power.
Analysts said Hollande, who will not run for re-election in April, decided to hold the summit in Mali to showcase one of his biggest foreign policy successes, a French military intervention in January 2013 to turn back a jihadist and separatist insurgency in the country’s north.
Insecurity nevertheless persists, and 10,000 Malian and French security forces were deployed to protect the summit.
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita praised Hollande as having been “sincere and loyal” towards Africa.
In addition to Mali, Hollande deployed French soldiers in the Central African Republic in December 2013 to stop massacres of civilians.
France has trained 65,000 African soldiers since 2013, according to the French government, which was expected to announce a new goal of training 25,000 soldiers annually at the summit.
The training is meant to reduce the need for French military interventions Africa.
France currently has about 4,000 soldiers in the Sahel region to fight terrorism. Before the summit, Hollande visited a base of French troops in the Malian city of Gao, the French presidency said on Twitter.
France’s concerns also include promoting development in Africa to stem migration to Europe. Hollande announced that France would mobilize 23 billion euros (24.5 billion dollars) “for the development and growth in Africa” over the next five years. (dpa/NAN)