President Paul Kagame has said that adequately addressing security concerns is less about the number of people and agencies involved but more about coordination efforts among them.
Kagame was speaking at the 54th edition of Munich Security Conference underway in Germany at a panel session on securing the Sahel Region.
Sahel comprises of the western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to Sudan. A number of countries in the region such as Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic have been experiencing security challenges.
Kagame spoke alongside panelists who included World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, President Roch Marc Kaboré of Burkina Faso and Malian Foreign Affairs Minister Tiéman Coulibaly.
The president said that there are many efforts by a number of players to secure Sahel but their impact will not be determined by their numbers but rather their coordination.
“There are many efforts whether by the UN, Sahel or EU on fixing the Sahel security situation - the key point is not the number of people contributing but rather how they all coordinate so that there no overlaps and wasted resources,” he said.
Kagame expressed concern on the utilization of resources in the peace keeping processes.
“The problems in the Sahel region have become global challenges. We need to find a different configuration of utilizing the resources available to become more effective. I don’t know why no one raises this point,” he said.
Resources management continues to be a big challenge in a number of peace keeping operations across the world with billions worth of resources spent but little to show for it.
For instance, MONUSCO, the UN operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is probably the largest and most expensive peacekeeping operation comprising over 20,000 personnel with a budget of $1.14 billion for 2017/2018.
However despite such huge costs and personnel, there have been questions of its effectiveness.
The president said that the continent is working to address such concerns of resource wastage and overlaps by building more efficient institutions.
“Africa is increasingly trying to address such problems by building efficient institutions to try and meet the needs of this global wider challenge so that we can all contribute to the efforts intended to stabilize the continent and develop as we should,” Kagame said.
Among the continent’s approach to address the concern of resource wastage and overlaps, is through the African Union reforms which among other things will improve coordination of continental efforts.
Kagame called for support to the agencies and organizations working to address the Sahel security situation saying that despite being complex problem, it is not unsurmountable.
“We must fully empower and support the people directly concerned with the Sahel problem. It’s a complex problem but I believe it is not insurmountable if we can do the right things in the right way in the right time,” the president said.
On the sidelines of the summit, Kagame held discussions with Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and German Minister of Economic Cooperation, Gerd Müller.
Earlier in the day, the president took part in a discussion on Stabilization and Development in Africa.
The summit which closes today has been looking into global security concerns such as cyber-security deterrence, the impact of new technologies on geopolitics and international relations and the protection of the individual and human dignity among other issues.
Participants of the meeting include Heads of State, Ministers, representatives of international organisations, as well as media and academic personalities to engage in an intensive debate on current and future security challenges.