The 2nd Tana High-level Security Forum opened yesterday (April 20th) in the capital of Amhara National Regional State, Bahir Dar. The forum is currently being attended by; Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, the President of the Republic of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olesegun Obasanjo and the former chairperson of the African Union, Jean Ping, amongst more than a hundred high level dignitaries. During the course of the two-day forum, participants will discuss the challenges posed by the growing threat of organized crime in the narcotics trade, arms trafficking, terrorism, illegal migration and the associated organ harvesting that often accompanies it, piracy, continental security and the ways in which to tackle these problems under the theme, "Security and Organized Crime in Africa".
In his opening remarks Prime Minister Hailemariam underscored the importance of the Forum in acting as an important platform for discussions on Africa's security challenges and the potential African solutions to these problems. Discussing the impressive and comprehensive development witnessed in Africa over the last few decades, Hailemariam noted that organized crime was becoming a formidable challenge, which if left unattended would have serious repercussions on the overall growth of the continent. President Sheikh Mahmoud of Somalia on his part shared his perspective of the immense environmental, economic and security damage Somalia had sustained due to transnational organized crime since its collapse two decades ago. He cited toxic dumping, illegal fishing, piracy in its territorial waters and human trafficking as concrete examples of the problems that developed in the country due to the absence of a functioning government. He explained that organized crime is fast becoming Africanized and thus needed African solutions. He expressed Somalia's readiness to join hands with other African countries in combatting these problems. He also noted that Somalia is making tremendous strides in addressing the challenges of organized crime as it resuscitates its state institutions and services. Chief Obasanjo stressed that organized crime posed a unique challenge to Africa due to its national, continental and international nature. He underlines that Africa had to make a concerted effort in tackling this challenge to its common security.