8th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa
The 8th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa was organised from 4th to May 5 2019, in Bahir on the theme: “Political Dynamics in the Horn of Africa: Nurturing the Emerging Peace Trends.
During the 8th Tana Forum, participants deliberated on ways to support the political dynamics and pertinent geopolitical matters unfolding in the Horn of Africa.
The 8th Tana Forum edition of the annual Meles Zenawi Lecture examined the legacy of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid activist and politician. Additionally, leading up to the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, the Secretariat of the Forum organised a series of events before, during, and after the Forum to cast a light on the relevance of the chosen theme through the engagement of youth, Intergovernmental Organizations, International Organizations, academia, local diplomatic and media communities.
These events included a side event hosted at the Munich Security Conference in partnership with the African Union and Experts Workshop to review publications that would set the stage for discussions that would take place during the Forum.
Two Pre-Tana Youth Consultative Workshops, one in the Gambia and another in Addis Ababa. A Regional Multi-stakeholder Dialogue, Ambassadors’ Briefing, and the annual University Essay Competition were also held.
The following were some of the key highlights of Tana Forum 2019:
- Attendance of H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Host of the Tana Forum. While she represents the only sitting female Head of State on the continent, two former female Presidents, H.E. Joyce Banda of Malawi and H.E Catherine Samba-Panza of the Central African Republic, were also in attendance.
- Presence of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
- Presence of H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa and Chair of the A.U. High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan, South Sudan, and the Horn of Africa.
- The annual Meles Zenawi Lecture on leadership in Africa, delivered by Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, paid a moving tribute to the legacy of South African anti-apartheid activist and politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
- For the first time, the annual report on the State of Peace and Security in Africa covered both a general survey of key peace and security trends, successes and challenges across Africa as well as focused on the specific theme of the 8th Tana Forum.
Some well-attended side events were also held, including:
- A Vice-Chancellors Dialogue at Bahir Dar University on Regional Integration and Security;
- A roundtable on Burden Sharing and the Future of Peacekeeping organised in collaboration with the Munich Security Conference and the African Union;
- A panel on Lessons Learned from Peacekeeping in the Horn of Africa organised in collaboration with the Munich Security Conference and the African Union;
- A panel on the Evolving Geopolitical Dynamics in the Horn of Africa and its Implications on the A.U. and U.N. Security Agenda in collaboration with the United Nations, the African Union, and the United States Institute of Peace;
- A panel on Lessons from the E.U. and A.U. on How Economic Integration Affects Continental Security in collaboration with the European Union.
In line with the theme for the 8th Tana Forum, it was observed that national and regional stability in the Horn of Africa served as vital components of the sustainable development objectives across the region. It was also noted with concern that myriad challenges relating to weak governance and state institutions, porous and contested national boundaries, slowing economic growth, and an increasingly tense scramble for resources by major powers, the political and security fault-lines in the Horn of Africa had become both a barrier to nation-building, as well as a source of acute security apprehensions.
It was also identified that these issues were also affecting political trajectories in the region and dimming the prospects for robust regional integration. Also noted were recent political developments in the Horn of Africa, especially the surprising rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea following almost two decades of violent conflict.