KIGALI, May 19 (Xinhua) — African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has called for African solidarity in dealing with security issues on the continent. Speaking during a panel discussion Thursday on “Foreign Interference in Africa: The Enduring Destabilizing Factor” during the ongoing National Security Symposium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, Faki said there is a need to operationalize African institutions and theoretical instruments designed to achieve the “collective security of the continent.”
He said undermining Africa’s established mechanisms opens a window for external forces to interfere in African issues. “There is also the weakness of intra-African solidarity,” Faki said. “Very often governments justify their calling upon other forces due to the fact that they are not able to face certain situations. They resort to external forces in order to maintain peace in their territories.” “It is not by pointing fingers at others that we are going to solve the problem. We have to question our behavior,” he said.
The three-day conference, which opened on Wednesday, drew defense chiefs, policymakers, diplomats and scholars from across the continent and beyond. Under the theme “Contemporary Security Challenges: The African Perspective,” the symposium offered an opportunity to deliberate on practical solutions to address complex security issues across the globe and on the African continent in particular. Panelists cited various cases of foreign interference in Africa’s conflicts, such as the conflict in Libya.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said since the colonial era Africa has experienced foreign interference with external forces seeking to exert control over the continent in order to exploit its resources. “Foreign interference is not a new phenomenon and it is not just about Africa. It has existed in various forms throughout history and it will persist in the years to come,” he warned.
The discussions focus on good governance, migration and brain drain, foreign interference, the African Continental Free Trade Area, digital technologies, and peacekeeping operations. Over 300 participants were attending the symposium co-organized by the Rwanda Defense Force Command and Staff College, and the University of Rwanda.