African countries asked to address security threats by investing in holistic development

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In the face of growing threats to peace and security on the continent, African countries have been called upon to invest in development in a holistic way.

The panelists at the session on “Development and Security – Dealing with New Threats”, at the ongoing 50th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, agreed that some of the factors leading to the formation of fundamentalist and armed groups on the continent include, among others, underdevelopment, unemployment, exclusion in government and poverty.

Making his contributions, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said there are new security threats on the continent, “apart from terrorism, there is Ebola,” he said, “issues of immigration that are leading to xenophobia; human trafficking and drug trafficking are security threats,” he added.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chair of the African Union (AU), adding her voice to the discussions reiterated that human and drug trafficking are security threats on the continent, noting that, “scarcity in the Sahel, weak institutions and weak governance” are all factors contributing to insecurity in some countries.

But she pointed out that issues that are threats to security on the continent should be seen as global threats. “These should not only be seen as threats to Africa, they are global threats,” she said.

To address the issues, she suggested that African countries should pay more attention to development and “invest in holistic development.”

She urged African countries to trade among themselves and industrialize to create jobs for their people.

President Felipe Nyusi of Mozambique, for his part, identified exclusion in the process of governance and maritime piracy as factors of security threats and argued that, while it is necessary to invest in military training and equipment, it is equally important to invest in health and education of citizens.

President Obasanjo agreed that African countries should invest in education in direct response to the security threats facing the continent.

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