Speech by Olusegun Obasanjo
Opening remarks by H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo at the MSC Core Group Meeting in Addis Ababa
14 April 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured to welcome you to the Munich Security Conference Core Group Meeting, taking place in Africa for the very first time. It is also my ultimate pleasure to welcome this group on the eve of the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, which will be taking place on the shores of Lake Tana on April 16 and 17. Modelled on the Munich Security Conference, the Tana Forum was launched in 2012 by the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, with the goal of convening key stakeholders to discuss issues of peace and security in an informal and relaxed environment. This year's theme will focus on 'Africa in the Global Security Agenda'.
I strongly believe that the timely and special proximity of the Core Group Meeting to the Tana Forum is evidence of the spirit of collaboration required in tackling our most pressing global security challenges. It also serves as an important opportunity to further strengthen our partnership in addressing key and common security issues in the region.
Since 2012, the Tana Forum has convened annually on the following four previous themes: Managing Diversity and State Fragility; Security and Organized Crime in Africa; Illicit Financial Flows; and Secularism and Politicized Faith. With more than 180 participants annually from more than 31 countries, the Forum has already established itself as an important institution for its key stakeholders. From the thematic focus of the past four Forums and the one for 2016, you can conclude that various African stakeholders are deliberating on the diverse and mutating forms of insecurity experienced not only in the region, but also globally. You can also conclude that Africa is asserting its agency in ensuring it achieves sustained growth and development, unhindered by threats to human security and the continent's advance.
With topics on the agenda such as cyber, health security and violent extremisms, the following two days will confront a range of issues relevant to human security – both in Africa and globally. I need not say that I am especially looking forward to tomorrow's session on 'Africa and the Global Security Agenda', as I am certain the deliberations at this MSC Core Group Meeting will relate to the upcoming Tana Forum discussion on the same theme this weekend.
As Africa's security challenges are more and more becoming the concerns and challenges of the rest of the world – and vice versa – this Core Group Meeting will give us the opportunity to discuss eminent security issues together – as neighbours; as partners; as one. It is international platforms like the Munich Security Conference and the Tana Forum that allow us to exchange different points of view and find common ground.
Let us therefore use this gathering to develop sustainable solutions to our security challenges; to build lasting ties of cooperation amongst each other; and to design a world in which human beings can live and prosper free from fear and want.
I wish us all a successful meeting.