The 11th annual African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS) has closed in Kigali with participants taking home lessons which will open a fresh page on how to deal with emerging security issues in Africa.
The symposium, which was opened in Kigali city by President Paul Kagame this January 24 is a forum that brings together Air Chiefs from militaries on the African continent to discuss regional and continental issues, enhance relationships and increase cooperation among African Air Forces.
The event was organized in partnership with the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces in Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), with more than 100 participants from 30 member states of the Association of African Air Forces (AAAF) convened in Kigali to discuss “Strategic Airlift” on the African continent.
At the closing ceremony, the event host, General Jean Bosco Kazura, Rwanda’s Chief of Defence Staff said that the symposium enabled members to collectively address regional and continental challenges, engage in dialogue, and enforce existing and forge new relationships thus a reason to call the event successful.
With a round of applause to that, Kazura said:”Therefore this is a testimony that you have enjoyed a beautiful stay in Kigali and that you have exchanged wonderful ideas that will ensure that all of us remain able to confront the demanding security challenges of the 21st century.”
General Kazura said that it is a fact that the associations’ operations in Africa and beyond have become expeditionary in nature and thus this has increasingly underlined the requirement for an enhanced strategic approach which required total collaboration by all.
All members recognized and committed to a continued collaboration therein to improve the much-needed air capabilities.
Kazura noted that the symposium has been another way of renewing their commitment to work together with the intention of achieving all strategic objectives together.
“This is said because one of the realities you realized during our discussions is that no individual country would be self-sufficient in achieving on its own the affirmed strategic objectives. It is against that background that all individual nations here present have chosen to team up with others to deliver the critically needed strategic results,” Kazura said.
Lt Gen Jean Jacques Mupenzi, Airforce Chief of Staff said that the forum engaged members in fruitful panel discussions such as crisis management, airlift resource sharing, on top of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions among others.
“These discussions will undoubtedly lead to collective solutions to prevailing challenges that African air forces are facing,” Gen. Mupenzi said.
Mupenzi said that the symposium presented leverage for opportunities that can only be achieved through partnerships, trust but also said that the event provided knowledge to members to address their current challenges.
Gen Jeffrey L. Harrigian, the US Airforces Africa Commander also noted that the discussions were able to further push the momentum between Africa and US-led air forces and the voices of the member states were key in managing the current crisis but also make actual moves to address them together.
This year, the AAAF also acquired new member states- Burundi and Gabon and Brig General Pape Souleyname, Senegal’s Chief of Staff of the Air Force was voted to chair the Association of African Air Forces (AAAF) and his country will host the 12 annual African Air Chiefs Symposium (AACS) in 2023.
Photos by Moise Niyonzima. Click here for more