By Kofi Ampeah-Woode
Cooperation between the governments of Ghana and the United Kingdom, has sustained an annual defence and security review of the West African sub-region, to seven consecutive editions with the target of identifying appropriate policies, principles and techniques to advance defence and security sector development in Africa.
The review, a two weeks course, which begun on Monday, the 1st of April, 2019, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), Teshie, under the caption “Managing Defence In A Wider Security Context”, has participants from personnel of security agencies in Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The study, which is deemed as one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) flagship Defence Courses, is a partnership between KAIPTC and the UK’s Defence Academy and Cranfield University and is aimed at strengthening collective dialogue and collaborative management of issues of cross-border threats, as the sub-region is supported by common values.
Delivering an address as the Guest-of-Honour at the opening ceremony, the British High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Ian Walker, said that the cooperation was part of the United Kingdom’s commitment to promoting regional dialogue and research on defence and security issues.
HE Walker added that the defence course has proven to be an excellent means by which knowledge is increased, best practices are shared and debate is stimulated on a variety of issues linked to the management of Defence as one pillar, amongst those that comprise the Security apparatus.
High Commissioner Walker reminded that although the last 24 months has witnessed significant achievements that reflect very positive developments in the conclusion of UN peace support operations in Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, severe challenges remain in Mali, Burkina Faso, in the Lake Chad basin, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon,
He said there are transnational serious organised crime; land and chieftancy disputes and conflict with migratory populations, which are destabilizing influences that prevent development of societies that promote education, prosperity, opportunity and well-being for the people.
He intimated, ”across the world, weapon proliferation, the advance of cyber warfare threats, the activities of non-state actors advancing oppressive ideologies, rogue states and the undermining of traditional military advantage through disruptive technologies, all present threats to stability”.
“IS, or Daesh, although now very much on the wane, would wish to continue its brutal campaign of murder and oppression, Boko Haram in Nigeria and its neighbours; Al Shabaab in Somalia; and other extremist groups in the Sahel – with an expansion of their deadly activities, as seen in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso – all threaten security and challenge the rules-based international system”, HE Walker said.
In his opening speech at the ceremony, the Commandant of KAIPTC – Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Griffiths Santrofi Evans, stated that governance and management of defence and security sectors are essential to the consolidation of democracy in developing and transitional democracies, especially with regards to issues of efficiency and effectiveness of the security and defence sectors.
AVM Griffiths said “these two weeks form one of a series of efforts to equip adequately to enable participants make their individual and collective contributions to reforms aimed at restoring professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness of the security and defence sectors to consolidate democracy in developing and transitional democracies, especially, Africa.”
Terrorism remains a real threat in the region and in the broader global context, to which the G5 Sahel countries have reacted through establishment of the G5 Sahel Force, thus the form Defence is managed and how nations design their strategies and policies is key in setting the appropriate framework for the delivery of security for the citizens.
Present at the ceremony included Course Facilitators from the UK Defence Academy and the Cranfield University and Senior officers and Staff of KAIPTC.