ARMY Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Caesar Kayizari, on Monday, rejected suggestions that the US government was using Africa Endeavor (AE) – a US-sponsored multinational initiative that seeks to improve communication between African armies – to gain influence on the continent.
Kayizari was speaking at Laico Umubano Hotel in Kigali at the opening of a five-day planning conference for an AE 2010 communications training exercise. The training session is slated for August in Accra, Ghana.
“There are those who see it wrongly – peace is in the interest of everyone. The US is interested in peace, not influence,” Kayizari noted.
Instead, he said, the initiative will help provide the “overall picture and status of communication and information systems as well as the baseline for interoperability for African armed forces.”
“It will also move Africans towards a single location for a common goal that will equally improve cohesion,” added Gen. Kayizari.
He explained that the training will improve cohesion through sharing of cultural values, “improving esprit de corps and human interoperability or social networks required for laying a strong foundation for a peaceful Africa.” The US Army AFRICOM’s Lt. Col. David Schilling, backed Gen. Kayizari.
“Security across the world can affect every single country equally. So, the more we work together on security, communications interoperability, or anything, the better we will be, as a group,” he observed.
Anne Casper, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Kigali, underscored her Government’s commitment to support the initiative.
“Just as we support multinational peacekeeping operations and the African Union’s efforts to create regional standby peacekeeping brigades, we are proud to work shoulder to shoulder with the African Union because it is in all our interests to see the realization of a strong, secure, prosperous and well-governed Africa,” she noted.
“Disasters like disease and transnational terrorists do not stop at national borders. Our ability to communicate with one another must follow the same model of seamless interconnectivity if we are to succeed”.
The third and final planning conference of Africa’s largest interoperability exercise is being attended by over 140 participants from over 30 African nations.
Similar exercises were previously conducted in South Africa (2006), Nigeria (2008) and Gabon (2009).