President Akufo-Addo Touts Accra Initiative as Important Homegrown Solution To Terrorism in West Africa
President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stressed on the importance of the Accra Initiative as the surest way of dealing with the current prevalence of activities of terrorists and extremists’ groups in West Africa.
The President and Chairman of the Accra Initiative Conference made these remarks on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 when he addressed participants of the high-level security conference aimed at countering terrorism in the Sahel and Coastal states in West Africa.
The conference was graced by the heads of states and governments of member states of the Accra Initiative, namely; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Togo. Nigeria has currently been admitted as an observer state and is hoping to be made a full member state.
Addressing the conference, President Akufo-Addo reiterated the devastating impact of the activities of these violent extremists operating in the sub-region. He stressed that these activities continue threaten democracies, displacing populations, threatening territories and loss of lives and valuable properties.
“I say nothing new when I say the West Africa continues to suffer from the effects of the surge of terrorism and violent extremism spreading rapidly across the region. Indeed as recent events continue to render the Sahelian countries of West Africa epicenters of terrorism, we continue to watch ask “how the activities of terrorists and extremist groups have resulted in the unfortunate disregard for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of our states, the painful deterioration of the strength of our democracies, the wanton displacement of the masses of our population and the needless loss of a considerable number of lives,” the Chairman of the Conference remarked.
He further stated that although the operations of these extremists were centered in the Sahel Region, current intelligence gathered has revealed that there is the southward movement of these groups to coastal states in West Africa.
He said, “today, the terrorist groups, emboldened by the apparent success in the region are seeking new operational grounds; a development that has triggered the southward drift of the menace from the Sahel to coastal West Africa.”
In order to collectively deal with the menace, President Akufo touted the importance of the Accra Initiative Policy in the fight. According to him, the Initiative adopts a wholistic approach in dealing with the situation and further indicated that it is an important homegrown solution to the West African problem.”
“Established in 2017 as a mechanism for enhance intelligence sharing among member states, the Accra Initiative has evolved in relevance and stature, capturing the imagination of members of international community as an innovative homegrown solution to a regional problem,” he added.
Present at the conference was the President of the European Council, Charles Michel who pledged the support of the European Council in the fight against terrorism in West Africa.
“The risk of contagion into the coastal states is not a risk anymore, it’s a reality. We all need to identify the best way to have an impact on the ground,” he said, adding that EU support to the region will include “lethal hardware for defensive purposes”.