International forum in Dakar focused on Africa’s pressing security challenges
Policymakers from around the world met on 24-25 October during an annual conference in Senegal’s capital city to discuss Africa’s most pressing security challenges.
The 8th edition of International Forum of Dakar on Peace and Security was attended by more than 1,000 participants, including heads of state, security experts, military and other officials, who focused on redefining the role international partners play in promoting stability in Africa. Attendees included the heads of state from Angola, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, as well as high-ranking officials from France, Japan and Saudi Arabia. The event opened with a speech from Senegalese President and African Union Chairman Macky Sall, who spoke about the need to re-examine modern peace operations. If United Nations peacekeepers are being attacked on their own bases, they can’t be expected to protect local populations, he said. The solution, Sall said, is to educate and create employment for Africa’s growing youth population.
The conference took place in the wake of France’s withdrawal of military forces from Mali and ongoing criticism of UN missions throughout the region. Militant Islamic violence in Africa has doubled since 2019, with a record 6,300 incidents in 2022 – a 21% increase over last year, according to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a US Department of Defense research group. The Sahel has been the most impacted, with violent events quadrupling over the same period. Across the continent close to 15,000 people have died this year from extremist-linked violence, a nearly 50% increase from 2019. The forum also addressed how to decrease Africa’s dependence on international food aid and become more resistant to external shocks, such as the war in Ukraine.