Former President John Dramani Mahama has said Africa made a number of positive strides in peace and security in the year 2018 even in the face of difficult circumstances.
Presenting the State of Peace & Security in Africa (SPSA) 2019 report at the 8th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, the former Ghanaian leader, who is the Chairperson of the Tana Board, said among other things that in 2018, a total of 27 African countries held elections and witnessed the successful transfer of power.
The other achievements he mentioned are:
1. Some of the continent’s long-drawn conflicts came to a halt, and a fresh wind of change actually began to blow, especially with the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
2. Notwithstanding occasional hiccups, a total of 27 African countries held elections and witnessed the successful transfer of power, even if the aftermaths did not fully and meaningfully alleviate the concerns and expectations of the majority of citizens.
3. The space for civil society engagement also expanded, despite the considerable risks the operators face. Countries that once went through political crises, violent conflicts and protracted civil wars are gradually - even if slowly and painfully - putting the pieces back together.
4. We are also seeing, in many countries, the growing involvement of young people that are braving the odds stacked against them in the political space to join politics seek elective positions into parliament and public offices. They are also taking advantage of the digital revolution to put developmental issues closer to them on the front-burner of national, continental and global issues.
5. As game-changers in many respects, youth activism and visa liberalisation are making the free movement of people, goods and services across the continent easier. They are, in turn, producing impulses capable of improving regional integration and cross-border trade, and also significantly contribute to overall GDP.
6. By no means the last, 2018 was remarkably the year that all but three African countries met and signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement which recently achieved the record threshold of the 22 ratifications required for it to come into force. If it is faithfully implemented, and the arithmetic works out as planned, the ACFTA may just be what the continent needs to set itself on the pathway towards achieving the goals of AU Agenda 2063 of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
This year’s SPSA, Mr Mahama noted, underscored the complexities that characterise Africa’s security landscape, and provided critical insights into the structural enablers, external and internal, behind the continent’s predicaments and achievements.