Aswan Forum – Building on Economic and Social Development to Achieve Sustainable Peace and Development

The first day of the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, which took place from 21 to 23 June 2022 in Cairo, Egypt, concluded with a plenary session on regional security.

The objective of the session was to discuss the African Union’s post-conflict reconstruction efforts with strategic organizations in Africa. All speakers agreed that post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Africa require international support, both from States and from bilateral and multilateral organizations and partners, if lasting peace and development are to be achieved.

For Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Head of the Multinational Force to Fight Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, building long-term peace requires providing opportunities people in delicate and fragile security or post-conflict situations. . He said development efforts are needed to prevent young people, in particular, from being tempted to join extremist groups. “We need to strengthen human resources,” he added.

Sandra Adong Oder, acting head of post-conflict reconstruction and development at the African Union, joined Maman Sidikou, the African Union’s high representative for Mali and the Sahel, who called for greater collaboration between organizations and better integration of peace efforts into existing mechanisms. In addition to highlighting the role of regional economic communities on the African continent, Oder spoke at length about the establishment of the African Union Center for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, which was officially launched in Cairo on December 21, 2021.

The African Development Bank is involved in many projects that demonstrate how sustainable security, peace and development are inextricably linked. Thomas Viot, chief coordinator of industrialization programs at the African Development Bank, cited many projects that demonstrate the link between economic activities, social benefits, peace and security. He listed private sector projects in Madagascar, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Togo among others.

A strategic partner of the Aswan Forum since its creation, the African Development Bank is strongly committed to post-conflict reconstruction in many regions of the continent, helping to restore lasting peace and above all to establish long-term inclusive development. In addition to his 2022-2026 Strategy on Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa, its industrialization strategy responds specifically to the need to link security, reconstruction and economic and social development. Between 2016 and 2020, the African Bank invested $8.15 billion in industrial projects in African countries.

“There is a consensus that private investment in a fragile environment cannot take place under the same conditions as in other situations,” he said. “We need to create innovative instruments that don’t exist today.” The message of the African Development Bank is clear, as is its mandate, in line with its strategy High 5s: “foster industrial development and support businesses of all sizes, boost productivity and create formal jobs, but also improve the trade balance of countries”. As Viot said, this will help create opportunities for those involved and thus consolidate peace and security. “Development finance institutions must ensure that their shareholders adequately fund their mandate to address fragility,” he added.

Funding, human resources, collaboration between the organizations involved in the field, international mobilization and coordination, efficiency and long-term vision: the many priorities raised by issues of security and post-conflict reconstruction and development were discussed. These priorities are only exacerbated by other threats, such as the climate crisis (land degradation, population displacements) or the risk of a food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

Joel C. Hicks