High-level stakeholders in Africa’s peace and security space on Monday converged virtually to discuss existing and potential opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); it was the first day of the weeklong (October 19 – 24) 9th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa under the theme: “The AfCFTA: Revitalizing Pan-Africanism for Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa.”
The Tana Forum is being convened by the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, as Africa’s annual flagship security conference aimed at bringing about sustainable peace as well as contributing to the implementation of the African Union’s Tripoli Declaration of August 2009.
The Forum is a response to the Tripoli Declaration’s appeal for “African-centred solutions” and the treatment of peace and security as a collective “intellectual challenge.” Since it was first convened in 2012, the Forum has emerged as the most prestigious, independent gathering of African decision-makers, leaders of thought, stakeholder groups and their larger constituencies for open discussion on the pressing peace and security challenges facing the continent.
The 9th Tana Forum offers participants the opportunity to contemplate on contrasting views on namely, the benefits and costs of the AfCFTA, implication of COVID19 on the AfCFTA as well as peace and security dimensions of free trade and open borders, amongst others. The participants are expected to come up with innovative ways to mitigate the adverse security challenges likely to be imposed by the AfCFTA as well as strategies for harnessing the Free Trade Area’s immense socioeconomic, political and development opportunities.
As part of the opening ceremony, the book “Africa First! Igniting a Growth Revolution”, by Dr. Jakkie Cilliers, the founder and former executive director of ISS, was launched. This year’s Meles Zenawi Lecture – in honor of the former President of Ethiopia Late Meles Zenawi – was delivered in honor of the life and legacy of two great Africans, Late Benjamin Mkapa, a former President of Tanzania and Late Prof Thandika Mkandawire, a former director of both the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA).
The overall objective of the Tana Forum is to serve as a platform where African peace and security issues are discussed so as to allow for high-level decision-makers within and outside of the continent develop new and innovative solutions to the myriad peace and security situations confronting the continent. It offers a platform for decision-makers and stakeholders to exchange experiences and insights on peace and security issues among themselves with a view to gaining new perspectives required to resolve critical peace and security problems.
The maiden joint retreat between the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC), th…