African countries need to conduct integrated efforts in tackling their challenges on issues of peace and security, former president of Ghana John Dramani Mahama said.
Speaking at a panel discussion organized in connection with the 7th Tana Forum yesterday, Mahama stated that little has been done in safeguarding peace and security of the continent though one of the major objectives for the establishment of AU was to effectively ensure peace and security of the continent.
Terrorist organizations like Al-Shabab, Boko Haram and ISIS are vivid manifestations of this, he added.
He said this resulted due to the fact that African countries have failed to formulate unity of purpose at the desired level.
Mahama noted that lack of unity of purpose and concrete coordination among the 55 member states of the AU showed that although the union could have even been a guarantee for peace and security of other regions of the world, the continent has remained under constant threat from such terrorist forces.
He recommended that African countries utilize their potential and develop their economies and rid themselves of dependency on the western countries.
The former president of Ghana stressed that institutions of higher learning in the continent should focus on research and studies that would support the continent's development programs without the need for interference of other foreign institutions.
Although Africa has not done enough in promoting peace and security in the continent, encouraging steps have been registered in the promotion of democratic order, according to Mahama.
He cited the recent transitions of power in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia as encouraging developments of democratic culture in the continent.
The former president of Nigeria and president of Tana Forum Olusegun Obasanjo, said on his part Africa has everything the continent may need, but lack of meaningful unity and prevalence of disagreements has prevented the continent from using its resources.
He stressed that African universities should conduct applicable researches on finding viable solutions to the challenges African countries are facing in terms of lack of peace and security.
Addis Ababa University President Professor Tasew Woldehana informed the gathering that Addis Ababa University is doing its part in training qualified professionals up to PhD level on issues of peace and security.
Similar views were expressed by Dr. Ferew Tegene from Bahir Dar University.