Former President John Dramani Mahama, has given accounts of an encouraging state of progress in Africa, pointing at the report on State of Peace and Security in Africa (SPSA) that a lot of conflicts on the continent were snuffed out in 2018.
At the 8th Tana High Level Forum on Security in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia last Week, the former President who is the Chairperson of the Tana Board said that 2018 was also the year that the continent made a number of positive strides, even in the face of difficult circumstances.
In the progressiveness of 2018, the former President highlighted the signing of the Free Trade Agreement by countries on the continent as probably the most outstanding achievement.
“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,” Mr. Mahama said.
The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, also known as the Tana Forum, is a platform for African leaders, stakeholders and thought leaders to collaboratively engage in exploring and exchanging ideas on African-led solutions to security challenges.
It is an independent initiative launched in 2012 by a group of renowned Africans including the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi. President Mahama is the current Chairperson of the Forum’s advisory board, which includes Lakhdar Brahimi, Luisa Diogo and other African personalities. The event takes place each April in Ethiopia.
Presenting the report on 2018, Mr Mahama highlighted that the continent had achieved progress on many spheres. Among others, he said 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.
Notwithstanding occasional hiccups, he said, a total of 27 African countries held elections and witnessed successful transfer of power, even if the aftermaths did not fully and meaningfully alleviate the concerns and expectations of majority of the citizens.
He also reported that the space for civil society engagement expanded, despite the considerable risks the operators face adding that countries that once went through political crises, violent conflicts and protracted civil wars are gradual- even if slowly and painfully- putting the pieces back together.
“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.
“As game-changers in many respects, youth activism and visa liberalization 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,” Mr. Mahama reported.