Human Security, Economic Development Key to African Security, Feels Expert

August 05, 2014

New Delhi: Summing up the security situation in Africa, Ms Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, National Director, South Africa Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Johannesburg today said that emphasis on human security, economic development and management of natural resources is critical for the security of the African continent. Ms Sidiropoulos was speaking at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on ‘Africa Rising and Regional Security’, on August 5, 2014.

Robust regional relations with inclusive transparent political systems, economic opportunities and empowerment of women are some of the elements on which the security structure of Africa can be based, stated Ms Sidiropoulos.

Speaking on the African Union’s Agenda 2063, of ‘An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa’, she said that Africa strives for conflict reduction, aims for widespread acceptance of diversity and seeks extensive and sustainable human development. The continent needs to learn from the lessons of the past, build up on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years, insisted Ms Sidiropoulos.
Ms Sidiropoulos stated that Africa's current security challenges are predominantly related to governance and social-economic exclusion.
She emphasised on the need for creating regional value chains for the continent’s economic development, where the manufacturing hubs within the continent could invests in. Deregulation, policy harmonisation across borders and reduced rents could give a boost to inter-state trade and commerce, which is currently languishing at a meagre 10-12 per cent of Africa’s trade, Ms Sidiropoulos stated.
In recent years, there has been progress in the efforts to find regional solutions to the problems in Africa. Nevertheless, the recent crises in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, to name a few, indicate the continuous challenges in the region. Ms Sidiropoulos’ talk offered a better understanding of the developments in the region and gave an African perspective to the issue.