Defence Minister Kwame Addo Kufuor on Monday observed that Africa's bane relate to inadequate security, a factor militating against peace, stability and progress on the continent.
He noted that the numerous conflicts on the continent have adversely affected attempts at socio-economic development and reduced Africa's attractiveness as a destination for foreign direct investment.
Dr Addo-Kufuor was speaking at the opening of a two-week seminar on Managing Security Resources in Africa being organized by the US-based Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) in collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre at Teshie in Accra.
The seminar is aimed at reinforcing the link between effective resource management and the attainment of national goals, highlight the importance of predictable policy environments, transparent procedures and accountable officials.
It will also demonstrate the efficacy of applying internationally-recognised budgetary and procurement practices to Africa's security, examine the policy, institutional and capacity challenges facing practitioners in Africa and identify the roles and responsibilities of civilian and military leaders in effectively managing the continent's security resources.
Participants at the seminar include mid-level West African military and civilian officials with resource management responsibility for the formulation, analysis and evaluation of security related issues.
Representatives from Non-governmental organizations as well as regional and sub-regional organizations are attending the seminar.
Dr Addo-Kufuor noted that the irony of Africa's situation was that the more endowed a country was in terms of national resources, the more intense and protracted a conflict was likely to occur.
He said the natural resources appear to serve as a magnet attracting rebels, bandits, and plain criminals who wage senseless wars with intent to loot the resources of the affected state.
The Minister observed that, over the years, it had become evident that most donor-led programmes intended to enhance capacity in the area of public management tend to exclude Africa's defence and security sectors.
He said, whilst the bilateral and multilateral partners were ready to provide funds for infrastructure and the social sector, they seemed unaware of the need to provide resources for the protection of these projects and national institutions.
Dr Addo-Kufuor stated that it was the view of many on the continent that if provision of resources for security was given the same level of support as is given to other sectors of the economy, there would be more peace and stability, far fewer conflicts and upheavals and more development on the continent.
He held that one way of effectively managing security resources in the face of scarcity is to pool resources for shared use.
In line with this the AU plans to establish five operational African Standby Forces by 2010, one of which will be the ECOWAS standby force.
The Minister said the successful establishment of this force would be dependent on close and well co-ordinated donor support and assistance.
He said by such measures, its was expected that the security situation on the continent would be improved.
Dr Addo-Kufuor expressed the hope that the course would help in the quest for peace and stability on the continent.
Ambassador Peter Chaveas, Deputy Director of the ACSS said the seminar was consistent with the US government's ongoing efforts to support the professionalisation of Africa's security sector and the broader goals of promoting democratic civil-military relations as outlined in the US national Security Strategy.