Africa’s Integration key to continental security – President

Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described as significant, the achievements being made owing to the collaboration amongst countries in West Africa and Africa in the fight against terrorism and armed groups.

African countries are co-operating in the fight against terrorism and achieving results, and this should spur us on in our collective drive towards an integrated and united Africa, he said when he delivered the key note address at the graduation of Course 25 participants of Nigeria’s National Defence College in Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday.

The President Akufo-Addo noted that the co-ordination of activities between the armies and the intelligence agencies countries such as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin and Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram, and with the leaders of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, also launching a multinational force to fight armed groups in the Sahel region, was essential to a successful battle against terrorism.

Making reference to the strides made by the European Union (EU), President Akufo-Addo indicated that the Union was given the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe, transforming most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace, and the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.

He noted that it is a widely acknowledged fact that the EU has helped prevent war amongst its current members since the end of World War II in 1945.

History tells us that Britain, France, Germany and Italy had for centuries waged wars over religion, territory and power.

Thus, the creation of a free market, concealing economic and geographical borders, would erode the justification for using war as the quickest avenue to wealth and power, and lessen its appeal.

That was the vision that inspired the idea behind the European Economic Community, now the EU, in 1957.

President Akufo-Addo, thus, indicated that Africa should be inspired by this, and hasten her efforts towards integration.

If Europe, through the formation of the EU, was able to stop the vicious cycle of violence that had plagued them for centuries, and lead them onto the path of advancement, wealth and prosperity for all, Africa can no longer dither, he said.

President Akufo-Addo stated that closer collaboration between Ghana and Nigeria could accelerate the growth West Africa and Africa.

Our respective armed forces have co-operated successfully in joint peacekeeping operations in several conflict situations in the region and on the continent, which have enabled peace and security to be re-established. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Sudan, Somalia, Mali and, most recently The Gambia, all come to mind, he said.

President Akufo-Addo, urged the two countries to now work together to unleash the energy and ingenuity of the African, and with a market of 1.2 billion people, soon to reach two billion, the sky will be the limit. Let us work towards the day when all of us will look to doing business, first in our region and continent, before looking to Europe, Asia or the Americas because we have the men and women, the goods, the services and the quality.

The way forward, he said was to implement regional and continental decisions, such as the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the Continental Free Trade Area, recognising that ultimately the benefits are in everyone’s interest.

Those of us who believe strongly in integration can do no better than to give our full support to regional and continental decisions. Through this, we will build institutional confidence and integrity in the structural organs of ECOWAS and the AU, he added.

The President expressed the need for all governments in the region and continent, to collaborate to ensure that the countries of Africa adhere to and maintain common values of governance, stating that Such commonality will facilitate immeasurably the process of bonding amongst the nations of our region and continent.

Source: Ghana News Agency