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Cyber security, terrorism, climate change feature at African security forum

By Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2021-12-07 20:01
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African leaders have urged international solidarity in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Omicron variant, and other major security issues at a high-level meeting that opened on Monday. 

"The emergence of a new variant in several countries is a reminder we are all exposed and in a state that commits us to be resilient, determined and combative as necessary in the face of the harmful effects of a double health and economic crisis," Macky Sall, Senegal's president, said at the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security held in Senegal. 

Noting that Africa is also particularly vulnerable to other threats such as climate change, the intensification of terrorist attacks and the resurgence of coups d'etat, Sall emphasized the importance of international solidarity in this time of uncertainty.

"Environmental and health sectors, organized crime, piracy, cybercrime, migration and all other cross-border challenges, no country will be able to face solely. This means peace and security in Africa are an integral part of peace and security in the world.''

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, while praising the country for timely reporting of the Omicron variant, blamed developed countries for imposing travel bans on the country and urged it to be lifted immediately. 

Ramaphosa said the travel restrictions affect struggling economies in the region that rely on tourism. The pandemic, access to vaccines and inequalities for the African continent were major points for the leader in addressing peace and security for the continent.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, president of the African Union Commission, in his address decried terrorism which he said kills dozens of Africans almost daily, destroying hospitals, burning schools and depriving thousands of children of the rare chances of learning to read and write.

"The unbearable conditions thus created have been added to violent or latent political crises generated by unconstitutional changes and bad governance, mismanagement, waste of resources, corruption, misappropriation and nepotism, which are the bedrock of insecurity, instability, despair and the dramatic loss of virtuous benchmarks," Mahamat said.

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