Air Chiefs symposium held in Botswana


Air Chiefs and representatives from 29 African nations gathered on 16 May for an annual symposium in Botswana, which hosted a record number of African air chiefs.

The African Air Chiefs Symposium is an annual forum for air chiefs from across the African continent to come together with the United States to discuss important regional and continental issues, and how African air forces can best work together to respond to challenges and create solutions. This year’s symposium focussed on the training aspects of force development.

The opening ceremony featured remarks from Maj. Gen. Gotsileene Morake, Botswana Defence Force deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Innocent S. Phatshwana, BDF Air Arm commander, Amb. Earl R. Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana, Gen. Tod D. Wolters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander and an introduction by each air chief.
“It is indeed humbling and a great feat to see the air chiefs from the various corners of the African continent gathered here for this forum in Botswana for a common cause,” said Morake, who opened the symposium. “I believe I speak for all of you when I say that such a forum creates a unique opportunity to renew contacts and discuss issues of mutual interest among participating air forces.”

The two-day event drew a record number of air chiefs and military leaders for a total of 29 nations in attendance. This year marks the largest symposium to date, with three more nations in attendance than last year’s conference.
“This is an exciting opportunity to share our thoughts with other air chiefs on professional development as it applies to training events and the enlisted force that day after day provides us with the tactics, techniques and procedures for our air forces’ to do so much in the future,” said Wolters.

During the symposium the air chiefs will participate in several discussions and workshops to increase their understanding of each other’s capabilities and discuss challenges affecting their regions.

The 29 nations in attendance are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and the United States. Another important participant in the symposium was a representative from the African Union.