President Nana Akufo Addo has said even though Ghana currently enjoys relative peace and security, the country cannot think it is immune from terrorist attacks as has been the case in some of its fellow West African nations.
Addressing attendees of the maiden Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel on Tuesday September 3,2019 on the theme, “Peace Operations in the Context of Violent Extremism in Africa” President Akufo-Addo said the incidents of 2015, when agents of the so-called Islamic State succeeded in recruiting a few attendees from the country’s university campuses to join the group’s fighters in Lybia and Syria as well as two Germans of Ghanaian parentage who also joined the Islamic State, should inform the measures the country ought to put in place to deal with terrorism threats to its territorial integrity.
He said “despite being a beacon of peace, stability and democracy in a region that is plagued by the activities of terrorists and extremist groups, Ghana must know she cannot be immune from terror attacks. She is determined however to deepen the religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence that exists between the majority Christian and the minority Muslim religious groupings in the country. They are the hallmarks of our nation which we cherish”.
He further indicated that in 2018, security agencies in Ghana had to disrupt the activities of groups purporting to raise funds for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, which turned out to be fundraising for terror related activities.
*The Three Point Agenda*
As part of efforts aimed at dealing with the growing incidents of terrorist attacks in Africa, the President proposed a three point agenda for the consideration of the forum, indicating that the quest to deal with terrorism cannot be limited to just military means, as vital as they are. Broader policies the President said, must be put in place to create opportunities and jobs for the youth if Ghana is to deal successful with the root causes of terrorism.
Focusing on education, the President said, “We have, as a matter of great urgency, to ensure education for all the youth of the continent. We are told that eighty nine million young Africans of school going age are not in school. That has to stop and stop now”. The structural transformation of the economies of African countries, and good governance in the nation states of Africa, the President said, are the two other urgent challenges African leaders must endeavor to meet.
Wife of the late UN Secretary General, Nane Annan, in a brief remark indicated that there is the urgent need to align the peace of the African continent to its much needed development. The leadership, vision and actions of African leaders going forward, This, she said will play a very pivotal role in guaranteeing the peace and security of the African continent.
She said “Your leadership, action and vision can play an important role in addressing violent extremism and building a peaceful Africa. As my late husband often said, there is much more in this world that unites us than there is that divides us,”.
What is The KAPS Forum?
The Kofi Annan Peace and Security Forum, also known as the KAPS Forum, is a flagship initiative by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in collaboration with the Federal Government of Germany and the Government of Norway. The KAPS Forum is an annual international platform that brings together top-level political leaders, diplomats and experts to dialogue and share ideas on the most critical evolving peace and security trends on the African continent.
The Forum was established in memory of H.E. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations who dedicated the best part of his life to the cause of global peace and security. KAPS Forum is also being instituted to recognize the role of former African presidents who led their respective countries to undergo major democratic reforms, as well as supporting global and regional security efforts, especially by providing peacekeepers who risk their lives in dangerous conflict theatres in order to bring peace to the world.