On October 7th, Senegal’s Foreign Minister Aissata TALL SALL presided over the official launch ceremony for the seventh edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa. Since 2014, the Dakar Forum, held under the high patronage of Senegalese President Macky Sall, has been one of the most important conferences on development and security in Africa, bringing together heads of state, policymakers from throughout Africa and from partner countries around the world such as Japan, international organisations, NGOs and key figures from the private sector.
This year’s Dakar Forum, which will be held on 6 and 7 December in the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniadio, Senegal, is likely to be particularly hotly anticipated given that the event did not take place in 2020 on account of the global public health crisis. Fittingly, the theme of the 2021 edition of the conference will be “The challenge of stability and emergence facing Africa in a post-Covid 19 world”.
During the first part of the conference, focused on stability post-Covid, participants will confer on the lessons learned from the coronavirus outbreak, evaluating how to collectively address pandemics. The conceptualising of a post-pandemic Africa will also be placed in a broader context, with participants at this year’s Dakar Forum invited to discuss some of the other main issues which Africa is facing as the continent embarks on its recovery from the Covid crisis. One session will be held on how the twin challenges of climate and demographic changes, frequently cited as factors which could lead to instability and insecurity on the continent, are affecting Africa’s security and development. Another session will focus on cybersecurity and disinformation, which have emerged as increasingly acute risks for African policymakers and businesses.
The Dakar Forum’s second segment will focus on how to consolidate peace and security across the continent, touching on vital themes including security cooperation between African nations, the fight against violent extremism, and the monitoring and control of maritime areas.
This year’s Forum will be enriched by the presence of high-level attendees from both Francophone and Anglophone Africa, including Mohamed Bazoum, the recently-installed President of Niger, and the South African head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa. The discussions held in December will build on the high-level dialogue which has characterised previous editions of the Forum. The conference, first launched at the 2013 Elysée Summit in France, swiftly became a major event, networking opportunity, and an international showcase for Senegalese diplomacy. According to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who has attended the Dakar Forum in previous years, the event “has indubitably become one of the major meetings each year on questions of peace and security in the world, and especially is a hub for anyone interested in issues of peace and security in Africa and, in particular, in our region.”
In accordance with the current international public health situation, this year’s edition of the Dakar Forum is slated to bring together 500 high-level participants for two days of dialogue on how to craft a secure and peaceful Africa in the wake of the Covid pandemic.