The inaugural African regional high-level conference on countering terrorism opened in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Wednesday with a call for concerted efforts to eradicate the vice which is a threat to peace, stability and development in the continent.
The two-day conference will discuss innovative strategies that African countries should adopt to help defeat violent extremism that has gained foothold in the continent amid poverty, conflicts and high youth unemployment.
In his opening remarks, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General said the international community should step up technical and financial assistance to help African countries contain the threat of terrorism.
“The threat of terrorism in Africa is spreading and destabilizing entire regions,” said Guterres.
He said that success of counter-terrorism activities in Africa hinges on political goodwill combined with a well-funded and equipped force as well as public awareness targeting youth at risk of radicalization.
The UN chief said that defeating terrorism is key to achieving the UN 2030 goals and the Agenda 2063 on creation of a stable, prosperous and inclusive African continent.
“There is an urgent need for the international community to support member states in this region to strengthen national capacities and resilience against terrorism,” he added.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged enhanced cross-border surveillance, public awareness and empowerment of vulnerable youth to defeat the menace of terrorism that has mutated in recent time.
“Africa has suffered at the hands of terrorists as militants take over territories, disrupt the rule of law and pose existential threat to survival of nation states,” said Kenyatta.
Kenya has partnered with the UN to host the Pan-African conference on counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism attended by political leaders, senior policymakers, security experts and peace advocates.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of African Union Commission said that economic growth, enhanced intelligence sharing and support for youth-led enterprises is key to winning the war against terrorism. (Xinhua)