24th & 25th August, 2017 – Johannesburg, South Africa: The African Leadership Forum brings together Former Heads of State as well as leaders from all sectors across Africa to discuss pressing issues affecting Africa’s sustainable development. The African Leadership Forum 2017 builds on three previously successful dialogues convened by H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, that have focused on Africa’s transformation, integration in Africa and African business. This year, the Forum will be co-chaired by H.E. Benjamin Mkapa and H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, and held in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The dialogue will seek to focus attention on the complex dynamics that have caused continuous and endless conflicts to rise and linger and will resolve how to practically and realistically navigate through them for lasting peace. The overarching objective of the dialogue is to address the following question:

“What are the issues and circumstances that hinder peace and security and what needs to be done to curb them for sustained peace and security?”

Peace and security in Africa is of great concern not only because of the fatal consequences that result from its absence but because much of Africa shall continue to be very poor without sustained peace and security. Further, to achieve the goals of effective integration, unity and sustainable development within and amongst African nations, it is fundamental that there is peace and security. The effects of conflicts and violence are countless and either build on or multiply from each other and in worse case scenarios it can take generations to rebuild a nation and make it stable after a conflict, robbing it of its potential prosperity.

African leaders are perceived to recognise and understand what is at stake. The region has several peace keeping councils, missions and committees. The African Union has given peace and security due prominence and it has priority in Africa’s Agenda 2063. Unfortunately, despite these efforts and intentions, there seems to be a missing link between the understanding and initiatives for peace and security and creating resilience on the continent.  Africa remains the continent with most number of conflicts, experiencing almost half of all the world wide conflicts.

There are several factors that contribute to continuing contentions. Lack of proper distribution of resources, failed governance and rule of law, and Africa’s position within and amongst foreign entities remain the overall primary ones. Africa’s people and leaders need to identify, resolve and implement solutions that will permanently end conflicts, successfully prevent them and strengthen leadership that will mitigate conflict drivers on the continent so as to achieve sustainable development.

Peace and security is an on-going and important agenda on the African continent. At present there are 21 countries in Africa, almost half of the continent, in conflict. The conflicts vary in nature, categorising some of these countries into either fragile states or others as warfare states. Despite unwavering efforts and some progress, lasting peace remains indeterminate. The rationale of the African Leadership Forum 2017 seeks to understand what are the persistent challenges to peace and security and what are feasible solutions.