SANDF attending African Land Forces Summit

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is attending the 2023 edition of the African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) in Cote D’Ivoire, where senior military leaders from African nations, as well as the United States and some European nations, are meeting to build relationships, exchange information on current topics of mutual interest and encourage cooperation in addressing challenges.

The eleventh African Land Forces Summit, hosted by the United States, runs from 8 to 12 May. The theme for this year’s summit is “Addressing Security Challenges Through Civil-Military Partnerships”. There are 46 countries participating in the summit.

Representing South Africa is the Deputy Chief of the South African Army, Major General Monwabisi Dyakopu, who is accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Seitebatso Block and Major Godfrey Makola. The South African delegation arrived in Abidjan on 7 May and the following day paid a courtesy visit to the South African Embassy, where they were welcomed by the Counselor, Neeta Somers, the Political Counselor and deputy to the South African Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire together with the Defence Attaché, Colonel Molefi Rapoo. Thereafter the delegation attended the ALFS welcoming ceremony, reported Block.

“Every country represented by the chiefs here today on the continent are different, have their own objectives, their own priorities, their own identity,” said General Darryl Williams, commander of US Army Europe and Africa, during his opening comments on 8 May. “But I know that, together, we can learn from each other’s experiences, and identify ways to succeed.”

Participants observed a demonstration by the Ivorian Armed Forces at the International Academy for the Fight Against Terrorism (AILCT) on 9 May. The AILCT provides training to forces from across the region on combatting violent extremism in a manner that respects human rights and builds the trust and confidence of populations threatened by terrorism, US Africa Command said.

This year’s ALFS features parallel sessions focused on fostering discussion and development amongst senior enlisted leaders from the US and African nations. “I know how much I have relied on good [noncommissioned officers] throughout my career,” said Williams. “Empowered enlisted leadership is critical to confronting the era’s defining global peace, security, and governance challenges.”

“ALFS 23 builds upon the success of previous summits and continues to bolster US and African security by fostering communication, cooperation, and planning amongst partner nations. The summit exemplifies the US Army’s approach in Africa: partner-led, US-enabled,” Africa Command said.