Kigali, 19 May 2023
In collaboration with the University of Rwanda (UR), Rwanda Defence Force Command and Staff College (RDFCSC) organized a 3-days National Security Symposium (NSS) held at Kigali Convention Centre. The symposium brought together academicians, government officials, diplomats and subject matter experts including Generals and Senior Military Officers to discuss contemporary security issues with a theme: “Contemporary Security Challenges: The African Perspective”.
The tenth NSS was officially opened on 17 May and closed on 19 May 2023 by the Minister of Defence Maj Gen Albert Murasira. In his opening remarks, the Minister emphasised that over the years, the NSS has widened participants’ understanding and perspectives on security trends, dynamics and challenges by listening to diverse views from policy makers, practitioners and scholars in the field.
“This year’s symposium provides an opportunity to discuss complex challenges facing the globe in general and our continent in particular. Such challenges range from building institutions and capacities for good governance; migration; emerging digital technologies; evaluate African initiatives to address some of our perennial challenges; foreign interference and the future of peacekeeping operations. The complex situation creates uncertainty to the functioning and survival of our nations and no single country can address them solely,” said Maj Gen Murasira.
The symposium covered a variety of topics ranging from good governance, migration and brain drain, foreign interference, the African Free Trade Area, digital technologies and peacekeeping operations. Over 500 participants shared their experience and insight on the above subjects and expressed the crucial need for Africans themselves to own their problems and seek for adequate home-grown solutions for peace and development to materialize on the continent. The 3- days was marked by well researched presentations and insightful discussions.
The first session discussed “Building Institutions and Capacities for Good Governance in Africa: Challenges and Way Forward”. Panelists were Dr Jonas Ewald, Dr Afzal Ashraf, Dr Usta Kayitesi and Amb Dr Abdulaziz Mohamed Al-Horr, whereas the moderator of the session was Mr David Mpanga.
Session 2 was moderated by Mrs Clementine Mukeka, and discussed on “Migration and Brain Drain: Strategic Opinions for Africa”. Panelists included Prof Albert Isaac Olawale, Dr Ozonnia Ojielo, Amb Monique Mukaruliza and Dr Musonda Mumba.
Session 3 was moderated by Mr Joseph Warungu and focused on “Foreign Interference in Africa: The Enduring Destabilising Factor”. Panelists were HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, Hon Dr V Biruta, Prof PLO Lumumba and Mr Brian Tamuka Kagoro.
Session 4 was moderated by Ms Clare Akamanzi with Dr Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, HE Wamkele Mene, Hon John Rwangombwa, Ms Mama Keita and Mr Jean-Guy Afrika Kiwanuka as panelists. Their topic was “The African Continental Free Trade Area: Issues, Challenges and Prospects”
Session 5 focused on “The Impact of Emerging Digital Technologies on Economy, Diplomacy and Security in Africa”. The moderator was Col Patrick Nyirishema whereas the panelists included Hon Musoni Paula, Dr Hamadoun Touré, Ms Sanjana Rathi and Brig Gen (Res) Yossi Kuperwasser.
The last panel tackled “The Future of Peacekeeping Operations: Trends and Dynamics”. Ms Lisa Sharland moderated the session with Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, Lt Gen Birame Diop, Lt Gen Shailesh Tinaikar and Prof Phillip Kasaija Apuuli as panelists.
The symposium was an opportunity for Senior Command and Staff Course (SCSC) 11 students to interact with high level policy makers, security practitioners, subject matter experts and scholars of security studies on security challenges in Africa. The symposium mainly recommended ownership of African problems by Africans as prerequisite to finding adequate solutions towards peace and sustainable development. By the end of the symposium, the students had not only gained the requisite insight, but they had also sharpened their awareness and readiness to pursuing their career development with clarity and understanding of the geo-political nature of contemporary security challenges on our continent and possible solutions. Commenting on the outcome of the Symposium, some students pointed out that “The symposium was indeed very educative on matters of security on the continent and beyond’’.
The tenth NSS was attended by high level distinguished invited guests including Ministers, Ambassadors, Senior Military Commanders, Academics and members of the press. They all joined RDFCSC community including 25 faculty members and 48 student officers from Rwanda and allied countries namely Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
On the official closing day, the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Albert Murasira thanked all participants and particularly speakers and moderators for the invaluable contribution to the fruitful discussions.
Opening ceremony by the Minister of Defence Maj Gen Albert Murasira