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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A week-long Africa Center seminar on the crucial link between national security and effectively managed financial and human resources was attended by 40 senior military and civilian officials from 13 African nations and the United States.
The seminar, “Managing Security Resources in Africa,” concluded November 9, 2012, and took place at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C., where the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) is co-located with the National Defense University. Seminar participants included practitioners and policymakers responsible for resource management in Africa military and security organizations.
Participants explored the importance of predictable policy environments, transparent procedures, and accountability for officials. They also discussed the importance of adopting appropriate, internationally-recognized budgetary and procurement practices and examined the policy, institutional, and capacity challenges facing the funding of the defense sector in Africa.
“The Africa Center did a great job in planting a seed,” said one participant. “We hope tomorrow we will enjoy the shade of the tree.” The participant added that the program will have a great impact in promoting accountability and efficiency in the security sector on the continent. Africa Center programs are conducted under a strict policy of non-attribution to permit the candid exchange of ideas.
At the seminar’s closing ceremony, Mr. Michael Garrison, ACSS Acting Director, thanked the participants for their commitment to lively discussions. He expressed the Center’s dedication to creating programs that bring together civilian and military leaders from across Africa to discuss security challenges with the goal of finding African-led solutions.
Dr. Assis Malaquias, ACSS Academic Chair for Defense Economics and faculty lead for the seminar, told participants that the main goals of the gathering were to share ideas about how to best manage scarce security resources in Africa and to strengthen the network of resource management professionals on the continent.
“I believe these goals have been met,” said Dr. Malaquias, who encouraged participants to keep in touch when they return to their countries. “Now, my challenge to you is to strengthen this network when you go back home.” .
The seminar, also known by its acronym MSRA, ran from 5 to 9 November. The keynote address at the opening ceremony was given by Dr. El Hadj Ibrahima Sall, President of the Université Polytechnique de l’Ouest Africain (University of Technology in West Africa). Sall discussed the nexus between resources management and strategy. He emphasized the critical importance of efficient management of resources to achieve a country’s security goals in Africa.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community.
Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.