President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on leaders of the global community to fully support West Africa’s fight against terrorism and violent extremism, particularly in the Sahel region.
President Akufo-Addo said despite the considerable economic challenges confronting countries in the region, they have amply demonstrated their commitment to take the fight to the terrorists if they were sufficiently empowered.
In a similar situation, the President said the Russian-Ukraine war had elicited “some US$73.6 billion in American support for Ukraine, US$138.8 billion from the European Union and its Institutions and US$14.5 billion from the United Kingdom.”
Unfortunately, the President said with that of the West African Region, security assistance from the US, the EU and the UK to ECOWAS has, in total, in the same period, amounted to US$29.6 million.
He was optimistic that with the right amount of support, ECOWAS could have chased out terrorists from the region without the involvement of foreign troops, adding: “West African troops can do the job. The Accra Initiative is a good example of indigenous self-help.”
President Akufo-Addo disclosed this when he spoke on the theme: “Democracy and Security in West Africa”, at the United States Institute of Peace’s Programme on Governance and Peace, on Thursday in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Expatiating on the emergence of terrorists in West Africa, he said terrorists were chased out of the Middle East and Afghanistan before taking refuge in Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, from where they fled across the Sahara to find refuge in northern Mali after Gaddafi’s downfall.
These terrorists, according to President Akufo-Addo, have since then, “spread their pernicious influence eastwards and southwards, with the coastal states of West Africa their ultimate destination.”
With rising levels of displacement of people in many parts of the Sahel region, the President said unfortunately, Africa had become the centre of attraction for terrorist groups who are multiplying in the region.
Despite marked successes, the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on developing countries had left many countries in the region in very dire economic situations.
“This has compounded the challenges we face in the mobilisation of resources to fight terrorists in our backyards,” he stated.
The challenge against democracy across the region, according to the President, had become more complicated and unprecedented.
He warned that “if we do not renew our commitments to build, keep and consolidate peace and democracy all over the world, we would have to brace ourselves to live in a new and more dangerous world today and in the future.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD