The first day of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, which took place from 21 to 23 June 2022 in Cairo, Egypt, concluded with a plenary session on regional security.
The goal of the session was to discuss the African Union’s post-conflict reconstruction efforts with strategic organizations in Africa. All speakers agreed that post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Africa require international support, both from states and bilateral and multilateral organizations and partners, if sustainable peace and development are to be achieved.
Building long-term peace requires providing opportunities for people in delicate and fragile security or post-conflict situations, according to Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and head of the Multinational Force fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin. He said that development efforts are needed to prevent young people, especially, from being tempted to join extremist groups. “We need to strengthen human resources,” he added.
Sandra Adong Oder, acting head of post-conflict reconstruction and development at the African Union, agreed with Maman Sidikou, the African Union’s High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, who urged greater collaboration between organizations and better integration of peace efforts within existing mechanisms. In addition to highlighting the role of the African continent’s regional economic communities, Oder spoke at length about the creation of the African Union Center for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, which was officially launched in Cairo on 21 December 2021.
The African Development Bank is involved in many projects that demonstrate how lasting security, peace and development are inextricably linked. Thomas Viot, the African Development Bank’s chief coordinator of industrialization programs, cited numerous projects which demonstrate the link between economic activities, social benefits, peace, and security. He listed private sector projects in Madagascar, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and Togo in particular.
A strategic partner of the Aswan Forum since its inception, the African Development Bank is strongly committed to post-conflict reconstruction in many parts of the continent, helping to restore sustainable peace and above all to establish long-term inclusive development. In addition to its 2022-2026 Strategy on Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa, its industrialization strategy specifically addresses the need to link security, reconstruction, and economic and social development. Between 2016 and 2020, the African Bank invested $8.15 billion in industrial projects in African countries.
“There is consensus that private investment in a fragile environment cannot take place under the same conditions as in other situations,” he said. “We need to create innovative instruments that do not exist today.” The African Development Bank’s message is clear, as is its mandate, in line with its strategic High 5s: “to promote industrial development and support businesses of all sizes, to boost productivity and create formal jobs, but also to improve countries’ balance of trade”. As Viot stated, this will help build opportunities for the people involved and thus consolidate peace and security. “Development finance institutions need to ensure that their shareholders are adequately financing their mandate to address fragility,” he added.
Financing, human resources, collaboration between organizations involved in the field, international mobilization and coordination, efficiency, and long-term vision: the many priorities raised by security and post-conflict reconstruction and development issues were discussed. These priorities are only heightened by other threats, such as the climate crisis (deterioration of land, population displacements) or the risks of a food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.