Silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.

 
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Realising a conflict-free Africa is the dream of every African. In this edition, we highlight the current hotspots; the root causes of conflicts; the various efforts in search of peaceful co-existence and development and the African Union's quest for silencing the guns by 2020.

In 2013 African Union (AU) member state representatives gathered at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the Organisation of African Unity was established in 1963, to celebrate the body's 50th anniversary.

Amid the pomp and ceremony, the leaders sat down to reflect and tackle the tough questions: What progress have we made towards the achieving of the objectives set by the AU and looking forward, what is our proposed vision for Africa for the next 50 years? Furthermore, what is the biggest challenge to realizing the aspirations of our people?

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, then African Union Commission chairperson, had visited various countries collecting views from governments, civil society and the diaspora, on what they felt was the most pressing issue facing Africa, one the AU should deal with.

Most agreed that conflict remains one of the biggest challenges facing Africa. The AU also sees conflict as one of the biggest impediments to the implementation of Agenda 2063. Of course, there were other challenges facing the continent, including poverty, inequality, unemployment, climate change, illegal financial flows, corruption, etc, yet conflict tops the list.

'Before leaving Addis Ababa, the AU leaders resolved not to pass the burden of conflict to future generations, so they adopted 'Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020' as one of the flagship projects of the wider developmental blueprint Agenda 2063,' Ms. Aissatou Hayatou, the AU 'Silencing the Guns' operations manager, told Africa Renewal.

She added: 'The objective was to achieve peace to allow for development across Africa.'

The initiative was intended to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters. The leaders hoped to have all the guns silenced by 2020.

Since 2014, Africa has made progress in the quest for peace and security, mostly by strengthening continental response frameworks and institutions, as well as by working with the UN and other organisations on the ground. These initiatives have borne fruit.

Over the past two decades, the guns have been silenced in previous...

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