AU summit agrees to strengthen mechanisms to fight terrorism

By Josephine Mugiyo

AFRICAN countries say the growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism on the continent is negatively affecting development.

This came out during the 16th Africa Union- AU Extra Ordinary Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea recently.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, who attended the summit alongside Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister, Cde Oppah Muchinguri –Kashiri said the general agreement among African countries is that terrorism is slowing down development on the continent.

“On terrorism and violent extremism, the summit broadly agreed that the growing and expanding threat of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa including the influx of foreign terrorists, private military companies and mercenaries negatively impacted the continent’s development agenda. In this respect, the summit reviewed the AU’s efforts on curbing the scourge of terrorism and sought effective means to sharpen its counter terrorism tools and approaches to effectively adapt to the contemporary nature of this existential threat,” he said.

The summit also adopted a declaration to renew cooperation and partnerships among the AU member states through sharing critical information and intelligence.

“The summit also agreed to the operationalisation of African stand by forces and all other existing security related mechanisms to strengthen the fight against terrorism. The summit noted the need to continue to engage the UN regarding the utilisation of assessed contributions for the Benefit of the AU mandated peace support operations,” he added.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco was appointed as the AU champion for reconciliation and building peace.

During the summit, Zimbabwe urged member states to take practical steps at national and regional level to implement programmes that address underlying causes of unequal access to resources and development.