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Munich Security Conference convenes first meeting in Africa today

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) is convening its first event on the African continent as part of its MSC Core Group Meeting series.  The meeting, which is expected to attract the attendance of several high level officials, is opening this afternoon at the Sheraton Hotel here in Addis Abeba.

According to a statement from the organizers, the joint fight against violent extremism, crisis prevention and management in Northern and Eastern Africa, as well as the security risks posed by epidemics and climate change are among the central topics of the two-day event.


“Under the chairmanship of Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, around 60 senior leaders from Africa, Europe and the US will gather in the Ethiopian capital, at the seat of the African Union (AU), to exchange ideas in an informal setting,” the statement said. The MSC Core Group Meeting takes place on the occasion of the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa and is organized in partnership with the governments of Germany and Ethiopia as well as the African Union Commission.


Among the Core Group Meeting’s high-level participants are the chairman of the AU Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui, the former Nigerian President and current Chairman of the Tana Forum Olusegun Obasanjo, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The host country Ethiopia will be represented by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  They will be joined by the Foreign Minister of Ghana Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, the Defense Ministers from Mali and Chad, Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly and Benaido Tatola, as well as the Minister in Charge of Mission at the Royal Cabinet of Morocco Youssef Amrani. Participants from Germany include former Federal President Horst Köhler and the Representative of the Federal Chancellor for Africa Günter Nooke, as well as Markus Ederer, State Secretary in the Federal Foreign Office, and Norbert Röttgen, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the German Bundestag.


The Director General of the International Organization for Migration William Lacy Swing, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng, the UN Special Representatives for Libya and Somalia, Martin Kobler and Michael Keating, as well as the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Carlos Lopes will represent key international institutions. The International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has also confirmed her participation.


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“Critical issues at the heart of the Core Group Meeting’s debates will include the management and prevention of refugee flows, the joint fight against terror and extremism, the cooperation in international peace operations, the development of Africa’s regional security architecture, as well as the strengthening of local governance structures, particularly in the health, justice and security sectors,” the statement further said.


On the occasion of the Core Group Meeting, MSC Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said: “With good reason, Africa is no longer perceived solely as a continent of crises. Especially its young and fast-growing population offers great opportunities for the continent. At the same time, this trend poses considerable challenges to many African countries. Are national and regional structures prepared to cope with a population expected to double by 2050? Otherwise, rapid and widespread state collapse could have catastrophic consequences for millions of people. Africa’s development is thus highly – and globally – relevant, particularly for its Northern neighbor Europe. Therefore, an even closer dialogue between Africa and Europe and an intensive exchange on political, economic and security issues matters more than ever.“


Since 2009, the MSC has linked up with local partners to host so-called Core Group Meetings in capitals around the world. Limited to a small group of no more than 60 senior participants, the MSC Core Group Meetings provide an exclusive setting for high-level decision-makers from around the globe to discuss current security challenges in their host region’s context. Meetings have already taken place in Washington, D.C. (2009 & 2013), Moscow (2010), Beijing (2011), Doha (2013), New Delhi (2014), Vienna (2015), and Tehran (2015). Further Core Group Meetings are planned for Beijing (November 2016) and Washington, D.C (2017), the organizers said.


Established in 1963, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become a leading international platform for dialogue on foreign and security policy. In addition to its annual flagship conference, the MSC regularly convenes high-profile events on particular topics and regions and publishes the Munich Security Report.

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