By Staff Sgt. John T. Crankshaw III, U.S. ArmyMay 14, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The theme of Tuesday afternoon's discussions at the African Land Forces Summit focused on the myriad of security challenges on the continent with causes ranging from violent extremism to climate change.
The African Land Forces Summit is a premiere engagement opportunity that brings together land forces chiefs of staff from African nations and military leaders from the U.S. Army to discuss topics based on the theme "Adapting Land Forces to 21st Century Security Challenges."
Guest speaker Dr. Jeffrey Herbst, Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Miami University, provided the summit's 31 delegations with an overview of historical trends on continental security, stability, and politics.
"After 1986, the African continent has experienced an increasing tempo of domestic conflicts and peacekeeping through increased militarization," Herbst said.
Herbst led the delegates in a discussion about identifying and decreasing the political instabilities and societal divides that lead to transnational crime.
Martin L. Agwai, a recently retired four-star general from the Nigerian Armed Forces, emphasized the need to reduce insecurity as a means to achieve the desired environments described by Herbst. Agwai said he believes education is the key to this initiative.
"Our most significant challenge is education. We must educate our people, train our soldiers, and equip them adequately," said Agwai, who led troops in a 2007 peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
To make progress in Africa, Agwai said creativity must be instilled through education, which will enable the development of 21st century infrastructure capable of increasing quality of life, security, and stability.
Maj. Alberto Nunda, a member of Angola's delegation, said the first step to making progress is identifying, understanding, and discussing the problems Africans face.
"It's up to us to bring those ideas to our political leaders for execution," he said.
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Key Security Challenges in Africa - African Land Forces Summit 2010