Symposium urges non military conflict resolutions
The Fifth US Africa Command Academic Symposium opened in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday with an appeal for the participants to explore non military solutions for African conflicts.
Addressing the symposium, the US AFRICOM Commander General Carter Ham called on participants to find non military solutions. “I think it is important to have this dialogue and for us military personnel to listen, to learn, to widen our thinking, and to look at problem solving from a non-military perspective. And that’s what this audience provides,” he said.
Mr Ham further said that most security challenges have a military component which is essential, but the military plays a non decisive but important role of which it does not single handedly provide solutions.
He noted that the sad news was that there were many challenges facing Africa particularly Somalia. According to him, the symposium will be an opportunity for the participants to discuss on how academicians think about these matters and how to address them, adding that the occasion was not a military forum.
The US ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Alfonso Lenhardt said that the US was working with Tanzania to combat extremism and violence in the region. “It is a time of tremendous growth and opportunity both for Tanzania and for the entire African continent. Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“Last year, foreign investment in Tanzania alone reached $3.8 billion – a reflection of the vast potential the rest of the world sees in this country and the East African region,” he explained.
He said that in order to ensure Africans fulfill the promise of a better future for their children, vigilance, and preparedness are necessary to identify and defeat threats to national security worldwide.
“These threats include the challenges that we are here to discuss today – the threat of violent extremism in the Horn of Africa,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief of Defence Forces General Mwamunyange, Major General Leonard Mndeme said that the symposium was timely since the continent was experiencing security challenges including serious problems of piracy.
The Major General added, “I believe the symposium will enhance our ability to cooperate on shared security challenges. We are all in this together.”
In partnership with the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Washington, DC- based Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and the Germany-based US Africa Command (US AFRICOM) are co-hosting the symposium that ends today.
Approximately 45 academic professionals from Africa, Europe, and the United States – with expertise in African security-related subjects – attended the symposium.
The goals of the event include soliciting inputs and engaging in dialogue on how the US military can best support peace and stability on the African continent, as well as to increase understanding of the US Africa Command and the role of the US military in Africa among academic communities that work in and with Africa.
By JAFFAR MJASIRI, Tanzania Daily News
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