African leaders highlight importance of combating terror to achieve development
African leaders and international representatives highlighted on Wednesday the importance of promoting security and combating terrorism as main factors for achieving development across the continent, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The remarks came during the inauguration of a two-day Sustainable Peace, Security and Development in Africa forum held in the upper Egyptian city of Aswan.
The forum in Aswan mainly focuses on post-conflict reconstruction, education, climate change and sustainable development in Africa.
At the inauguration, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for "decisive and collective action against countries supporting terrorism around the world."
In his speech, he said various African countries are impacted by terrorist violence, naming the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa region and parts of North Africa as the most affected regions in Africa.
Other leaders including presidents of Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Senegal and officials from the United States, Britain, the United Nations attended the forum.
"There is no substitute for combating terrorism in African countries," said Senegalese President Macky Sall during the first session of the forum titled "Africa We Want: Sustaining Peace, Security and Development."
"Fighting terrorism eats up from 18 to 24 percent of the African continent budget, resulting in budget deficit," Sall said.
Expressing concerns about the interference by external forces, the Senegalese president said this phenomenon is negatively affecting the continent.
"All necessary measures must be taken to achieve peace and development in Africa," he noted.
During the forum that discussed the post-conflict reconstruction and silencing the guns in Africa, Comoros' President Azali Assoumani said terrorism is preventing some African countries from fully benefiting from their resources and capabilities.
"Security and peace are the source of progress for the continent," he noted.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called for a focus on conflict prevention in Africa.
"We need to silence the guns," said Buhari, adding Africa needs to invest more in education which provides opportunities for a better future.
Meanwhile, Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou said, "No development could be achieved without security," explaining that Africa hosts half of the world's dynamic countries.
A minimum growth rate of 7 percent could be achieved through developing natural, mineral and energy resources, which will enable the African countries to combat discrimination and inequality, he added.
"Africa hosts 20 percent of the world population, and the number will hit 40 percent 40 years later, which gives Africa a privilege that could be used for pushing the sustainable development," Issoufou said.
He said Africa needs 400 billion U.S. dollars annually to implement the development plans, noting encouraging investors to lure more funds is "an indispensable solution."
The forum was announced by al-Sisi in February during an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
Under its leadership of the African Union, Egypt is taking the initiative to launch this forum to address challenges, security, development, and opportunities in Africa.