Ramaphosa on silencing the guns


At the weekend the African Union (AU) held an extraordinary summit on its silencing the guns initiative which ended with a 10 year extension of its master roadmap to end conflict on the continent.

It was, according to the official South African government news site, the 14th continental body summit to address the issue of conflict. In its initial iteration “Silence the Guns” had the appellation of a year – 2030. The adoption of the 10 year extension to the roadmap now sees the initiative run through to 2030.

In his closing statement to the summit, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, also the AU chair, pointed out “incidents of conflicts are intensifying and spreading to all regions of the continent”.

“Conflict, political instability and insecurity continue to be major threats to the realisation of the ‘Africa We Want’.

“The proliferation of small arms and light weapons and illicit financial flows are among factors contributing to traditional and non-traditional threats to states and human security on our continent. As conflicts escalate they leave behind a sad trail of displacement and humanitarian crisis. Violent conflict invites undesirable and opportunistic intervention from outside the continent. This undermines the sovereignty of African states and serves to advance the interests of others at the expense of Africans,” Ramaphosa said.

He appealed to African countries to work together “if meaningful progress is to be made toward creation of the Africa we want”.

Ramaphosa told the summit implementation of the continental body’s African peace and security architecture as well as its governance architecture was needed for quick and adequate responses to conflict and instability.

“To build lasting peace, we need to create inclusive multi-sectoral programmes that address the economic, social and environmental causes of conflict, along with their racial, ethnic, gender and spatial dimensions. This is why we must, among others, work to address the emerging threat of food insecurity on the continent, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”