Addis Ababa, 28 April 2017:  In its efforts to provide effective and efficient administrative and logistics support to the African Standby Force (ASF), and crisis response operations across Africa, the Commission of the African Union (AU), in partnership with the U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and the U.S. Africa Center for Strategic Studies, concluded the fourth African Logistics Forum (ALF), at the AU Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The three-day Forum which was held from 25-27 April 2017, created an opportunity to discuss and exchange views on the relationship between the AU Continental Logistics Base (CLB) located in Douala, Cameroun and the five Regional Logistics Depots (RLDs) located in the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs).  The state of readiness of the CLB and the RLDs was reviewed to ensure they are coordinated and integrated in the provision of support to the ASF. 

The ALF 2017 brought together civilian and uniformed logistics experts, representing more than 30 African countries, representatives from the African Union, Member states, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms(RECs/RMs), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), and various U.S. Government agencies as well as, multinational partners.

Opening the conference, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, highlighted the importance of logistics as a backbone of any operation. ‘’Converting political will and resolve into responsive and effective interventions requires a sound logistics foundation. Whether preventing the outbreak of violence, providing humanitarian assistance or carrying out peace support operations, African countries and regional organizations need to have effective logistics arrangements in place to support these activities,’’ the Commissioner said.

“Organizing the right equipment and supplies; moving troops at the right time by land, sea, and air; and ensuring the processes are in place for acquisition, sustainment, and maintenance are critical and essential to operational success,” said Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, USAFRICOM Commander, in his keynote address. Waldhauser, said strong logistics capabilities are crucial to crises response in a timely manner in view of the vast distances in Africa. “Without proper, timely, and flexible logistics support, our exercises and operations are simply not possible,” he added.

Presentations were made and Logisticians shared their experiences and deliberated on how to enhance coordination and collaboration between the AU, RECs/RMs in respect of their logistics capabilities and capacities in support of the ASF. The Forum examined continuing logistics challenges to security interventions, peace support operations, and humanitarian assistance, and identified recommendations for effective harmonization and working relationship.

In his closing remarks, the Head of the PSOD, Mr Sivuyile Bam, thanked the participants and emphasized the need for continued engagements to materialize the necessary support to AU peace support operations. He also encouraged the RECs/RMs to continue to work with their Member States to fill the logistics gap, while the CLB and the RLDs are being established. The three-day conference concluded with submission of a comprehensive report and an action plan for the operationalization of the CLB and the RLDs, in line with the Maputo Work Plan of 2016 -2020. The report will be submitted to the next meeting of the AU Specialized Committee on Defence, Safety and Security.




Posted by Lulit Kebede

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