Experts Urge African Leaders to Rely on Research for Better Security and Reconstruction Decisions

Delegates at the opening session of the Annual IRSK Conference at the TradeMark Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda on November 2, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

Nairobi, Kenya | THE BLACK EXAMINER | Africa’s decision-making regarding security and the reconstruction of war-torn regions could greatly benefit from a reliance on research, according to experts who convened in Nairobi, Kenya last week. These experts, representing ten different countries and various fields such as security, international trade, and foreign policy, gathered to assess Africa’s current challenges and geopolitical threats.

Ms. Elizabeth Mutunga, the Head of Governance, Peace, and Security program at the regional trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), emphasized the importance of research-based policy and security interventions. She stated that whether it’s conflict prevention, conflict management, or post-conflict reconstruction, programs should be guided by research findings.

Comesa, a trading bloc encompassing five different regional blocs in Africa, has traditionally factored in the economic cost of conflict and security threats when making policy decisions, even though it primarily focuses on commerce. Given the increasing challenges of terrorism, violent extremism, unconstitutional changes of government, and other forms of competition in the current global environment, Ms. Mutunga suggested that it’s time to reassess interventions.

The goal for Africa to end violence by 2020 under the “Silencing the Guns” program was not achieved, with the African Union acknowledging capacity limitations and weak conflict resolution solutions as contributing factors to relapses and failed peace missions.

The annual IRSK Conference featured discussions on the need for solutions that are in tune with local realities and the multifaceted challenges Africa faces, including external threats, artificial intelligence, climate change, infrastructure gaps, and the youth bulge.

Dr. Vasu Goundan, Executive Director for Accord, stressed the urgency of addressing climate change, the potential threat of nuclear conflict, and the opportunities and dangers posed by artificial intelligence in Africa. He also noted the challenge of rapid urbanization without simultaneous industrialization in the continent.

This gathering, like the IRSK Annual Conference, aims to provide valuable insights for government officials to better understand the realities of peace, security, stability, and development in the region.

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Mimi Nina Lakhani
Mimi Nina Lakhani
I'm Nina, a Kenyan-born Tanzanian. I write about politics, business, investment, oil and gas, and climate. Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya. Daily News Tanzania (Tanzania) | Tuko (Kenya) | Eye Radio (South Sudan) | The Black Examiner (Uganda)