United States Africa Command concluded the Africa Endeavour 16 event in Madagascar on Monday with a final ceremony which highlighted the communications capabilities of a newly trained Malagasy Defense Force Peacekeeping Battalion in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Madagascar hosted this year’s Africa Endeavour (AE16) for over 40 African nations and several regional originations.
“Madagascar offered to host AE16 because it is an opportunity for us to share with other countries our experience and knowledge in signal and communications technology. And it was important to showcase our peacekeeping battalion because we want them to take part in a United Nations or African Union peacekeeping mission,” said Colonel David Rakotonindriana, Malagasy planning lead for AE16.
“The benefits of Madagascar hosting AE16 were twofold in my opinion. First it allowed the government of Madagascar to show their Defense Force is ready to contribute efforts on the continent and second it was good for the African partners to see just how far the Malagasy Defense Force has come in the last few years. Both enabled the country to become known better throughout the area as someone who can contribute,” said Colonel Christopher Eubank, Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems Director for U.S. Africa Command.
AE16 is an annual U.S. Africa Command sponsored training and information sharing effort to help develop African multi-national communication interoperability for African Union and United Nations mandated peacekeeping and disaster response in Africa.
“This is more than just a Pan-African communications symposium of senior leaders,” said Steven Carter, African Endeavor Lead Planner for U.S. African Command. “The AE16 venue builds the next generation of signal leaders. The relationships made here are sustained over years and help build stronger bonds between countries who would otherwise not interact under any other conditions. This event is about bringing in African Partners, Western Partners, Interagency Partners, South American Partners, Regional Economic Communities, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the African Union and the United Nations together to improve communications capabilities across the Pan-African community, facilitate idea generation and build strong bonds across regional neighbours and troop contributing countries.”
In addition to idea sharing, AE16 added a new component of a technology expo to the Africa Endeavour line up. The expo featured vendors who were vetted to ensure they provided solutions to Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4) interoperability gaps such as cyber, network defence, maritime security, civil and military communications , partnering against illicit activities, encryption capabilities and IT infrastructure.
“The value of the tech expo was it allowed everyone to see there are affordable, sustainable solutions to C4 problems and challenges. It also allowed industry representatives to better understand the communications challenges which exist on the continent,” said Colonel Christopher Eubank, Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems Director for U.S. Africa Command.
“The tech expo was a good thing for AE16. The Malagasy Defense Force saw signal materials, technicians and the partners we need,” said Colonel David Rakotonindriana, Malagasy planning lead for AE16.
Past host nations for Africa Endeavor have been South Africa, Nigeria, Gabon, Ghana, The Gambia, Cameroon and Botswana. The host nation for AE 17 has yet to be selected.