African defence and security gatherings focus on partnerships

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Separate defence oriented events on the eastern and western sides of Africa this month have a common denominator – partnerships.

ASEC (Africa Security Symposium) is scheduled for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 22 and 23 May with the third African Air Forces Forum (AAFF) in the Nigerian capital Abuja on the same dates. A bonus for delegates going to the AAFF is an air show on the Saturday post the forum at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base (AFB Kaduna) just on 200km from Abuja to mark the force’s 60th anniversary.

ASEC 2024 will be number 11 with the organisers noting it as “a truly pan-African event” supported by the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations (UN) as well as Interpol, non-government organisations (NGOs) and governments via departments responsible for defence, interior or home affairs and police.

In a welcoming address, ASEC conference chair Motuma Mekassa, a former Ethiopian defence minister, notes the world witnessed “an unprecedented evolution of security threats, ranging from terrorism to the deterioration of peace” both in and across countries. He sees the Ethiopia symposium as a platform for sharing insights, engaging in meaningful discussions and collaboratively seeking solutions.

“Through open dialogue and the exchange of ideas, we aim to identify innovative approaches that leverage the strengths of both private and public sectors in ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities.”

Across the continent in Abuja, the theme for the AAFF leans heavily on the force’s 60 years of service.

In his welcome message NAF Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Hasan Bala Abubakar, writes the theme “NAF at 60: leveraging strategic partnerships in aerospace innovations for regional security” was carefully chosen to collaborate and tap into potential from an “ever-evolving aerospace industry”.

“The third edition of AAFF will feature a conference, discussions and international exhibition that will showcase the latest equipment and solutions that will contribute to enhanced security in the continent. The event will also feature multi-disciplinary discussions and aviation demonstrations, which makes it one of the foremost gatherings of air forces, aviation authorities and key solution providers in Africa,” Abubakar writes.