Commandants of defence colleges and training managers of defence forces from several African countries are converging in Kigali for a meeting that seeks to develop cooperation, among other things.
The 10th annual African Conference of Commandants of Staff Colleges (ACOC), that opened yesterday, is being held under the theme, “Educating lessons learnt from contemporary African conflicts.”
It brings together about 40 delegates from different African countries to discuss enhancing harmonisation, inter-operability, commonality, standardisation and cooperation between African military command and staff colleges.
This is the first time Rwanda is hosting the conference since ACOC was established in 2007 in Pretoria, South Africa, by several pioneering African military colleges.
It brings together commandants of the defence colleges as well as training managers of African defence forces with an aim of making their contribution towards the current standards within African armed forces command and staff colleges through education, training and development of officers.
Opening the conference, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces, recognised the role of interoperability among the different African military colleges as an important factor in professionalising African defence forces.
“I am aware that this meeting will be centred on educating lessons learnt from the contemporary African conflicts and crises. We have heard a couple of them over the last couple of years,” Nyamvumba said.
“Issues of harmonisation, interoperability, commonality, standardisation should take centre stage as we forge our way forward on how best African colleges can contribute to the education training and professionalisation of our defence forces.”
Gen Nyamvumba also stressed the importance of working together to eliminate security threats on the continent.
“The scope, impact and complexity of these security challenges require our concerted efforts to find workable solutions and undertaking meaningful steps in actualising them through preventive, proactive and where possible reactive bold actions,” he said.
“It is important to promote dialogue between African countries and other partner states with a view to designing strategies that can improve regional and continental security initiatives rather than focusing on individual state capacities.”
ACOC was first held in November 2007 in Pretoria, South African, and was followed by others in Ghana, Egypt, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia, during which Rwanda was designated to chair the military grouping for this year.