Africa Safety Escalation Strategy Conference 2021
It is true that most of the African continent is plagued with perennial social, political, economic, and environmental challenges of disruptive, escalating proportions. The sum total of the challenges (surmountable problems) boils down to the quality pf leadership driving the processes of economic, political, and socio-cultural development making up the various sectors of the continent’s sustainable efforts aimed at achieving its growth-recovery and stability targets. Forensic evaluation of the enormous challenges confronting the continent reveals really-so-much of problems with policy statements and positions documents regarding the true state of development. The depth of the issues is in the false documentation of what is really on ground pertaining to people’s lives.
The ensuing statements notwithstanding, to stem emergencies and disaster situations, there is the need to escalate on initiatives and measures that are existing and have worked or portends to contribute positively to sustainability of development. This will produce multiplier effect on the efforts effect greater development for and in the continent. Africa is regarded in some quarters as the resilient continent. In spite of mind-blowing corruption in the implementation of development agenda and policies; budgets abuses and fraudulent management of huge inflows from donor and development partners disappear, earning the continent the label of ‘dark continent’, and subsequent redirection of development aid to other parts of the world, the people of Africa have continued to push through with their lives. It is estimated that the continent as a whole receives roughly $50 billion of international assistance annually.
The US State Department and USAID- administered assistance allocated to African countries from FY2019 appropriations totaled roughly $7.1 billion. Whereas some schools of thought believe that the idea of aid to Africa creates more problems for the continent, we affirm that it is a necessary measure to not only directly benefit the communities it helps in several other ways, but such also as the additive contents that different templates for the implementation of identified and supported/funded projects bring in for project management and monitoring. The issue here is that the ‘helpless’ people targeted in development planning rarely get the direct impact leading to what is regarded as ‘donor fatigue’.
So, how have the people living and working on the continent been confronting and containing emergencies and disasters that challenge prosperity and safety of lives and property? How can sustainable development be achieved in the era of economic repression of citizens leading to the declension of their lives? What cultural resources by way of approaches are available to pursue the escalation of the good that already exists? Who can or should take the lead to transform the challenges to survival resources? Has Africa’s sustainability strategy been clearly defined and by whom?
As a paradigm shift, we view Africa’s sustainable development as premised on the temporal order of safety first before security. In whole gamut of literature, policy, and initiatives, emphasis has been place on African security as preconditions for development. Governments and donor nations and agencies spend billions in budgets fighting insecurity as state policy. We think it is safety, instead. Invest in safety systems. Develop and implement safety strategies. Emphasize safety mechanisms. Without safety, we can not guarantee the future as security and peace are not just about the now. They are about tomorrow and the distant future. Safety enables people to go about their legitimate activities without let and fear, today. Safety is a guarantee and a guarantor for the unknown, undefined future.
Firesmith (2011) in the world of computers, hardware and data-processing, argues that work on commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) programs ranging from relatively simple two-tier data-processing applications to large-scale multi-tier weapons systems, simply identifies one of the primary problems repeatedly seen as that of requirements engineers tending to focus almost exclusively on functional requirements (things we can technically connect to state policy and budgets, such as violence and insecurity) and largely ignoring the so-called non-functional requirements, such as safety, peace, data, interface, and quality requirements. This myopia means that requirements engineers overlook critically important, architecturally significant, quality requirements that specify minimum acceptable amounts of qualities, such as availability, interoperability, performance, portability, reliability, safety, security, and usability of assets.
If this is so, how much more if we plough into the context of humans and their requirements! A number of studies, notably the World Bank’s Voices of the Poor report (such as a survey reviewed by f poor people in 23 low and middle-income countries conducted over a period of years, Bakrania & Haider (2016) prioritised safety, security, and justice as major concerns for citizens. Safety and security represent many things, including a stable income, consistent housing, clothing, and food supplies as part of the predictability of daily life, protection from crime, and psychological security.
Bakrania & Haider (2016) noted that there is a sense among poor people that insecurity and instability affect them more than the well off, whether through crime and violence, conflict, or through unresponsive, corrupt, and abusive security actors such represented by the police. Poor people live in insecure areas, have the most insecure assets and rights, have fewer resources to protect themselves, and suffer the most from multiplicities of crimes. Women, men, girls, and boys often have different safety, security and justice perceptions, experiences and needs that require targeted responses. For example, insecurity and injustice contribute to gender-based discrimination and social exclusion as a result of women’s inadequate property rights, unequal access to assets, and discriminatory social norms and power structures.
How does safety contribute to development outcomes? Bakrania & Haider (2016) further reported that there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that shortfalls in safety, security, and justice (mind the temporal order) contribute to both poverty and underdevelopment. Conversely, the presence of safety, security and justice can contribute to development outcomes including virtuous cycles of security and development where high levels of security can lead to development and then promoting security and justice. The direct causality of the relationships of safety, security, and justice on the one hand and development on the other may be complex. Nonetheless, safety, security and justice are seen as moral rights and intrinsic to sustainable development.
It is veritable to regard accountability in safety, security and justice provision is related to protection from human rights abuses, the ability for citizens to seek redress and hold providers accountable, and to the responsiveness and accessibility of provision itself. Security and justice institutions can be abused by elites protecting their vested interests and preventing transparent and accountable governance. Security and justice institutions that are democratically controlled, alongside an independent judiciary that can check the power of the legislature and executive, including security institutions, contributes to establishing the rule of law. The equitable provision of safety, security and justice to all citizens is important for legitimacy and effectiveness, citing a 2007 Department for International Development (DFID) Report. Arguably, lack of safety, security and justice impedes the provision of, or people’s access to, other services such as education, health, water, sanitation, and electricity in the continent.
Further to this, the University of Leiden-COURSERA joint course on security and safety, noted that security and safety challenges rank among the most pressing issues of modern times. Challenges such as, cyber-crime, terrorism, and environmental disasters impact the lives of millions across the globe. These issues also rank high on the agenda of politicians, international organizations, and businesses. They also feature prominently in the public conscience and in governmental policies. In the current, interconnected world, security challenges are becoming increasingly complex. Facilitated by developments as globalization and the spread of networked and hyper-connected technologies, new safety and security challenges arise and impact local, national, regional, and international levels, which dramatically increases their complexity and scale. As such, solutions to contemporary security challenges require a wide array of actors operating on multiple levels of governance.
On a practical note, you cannot feel secure or experience security if the means of that security is not in your hand. For example, your bank account. If you don not have the capacity to block cyber interference on your account, you cannot be secure. Thus, safety comes first before security. What can we do to foster this capability of safety in order to have the security of our future? How can we escalate the process and outcomes of safety? What has the ‘aid syndrome’ not done to Africa? Given this background, it is imperative that we establish a safety knowledge base for the development of safe, secure, and just societies.
To provide insight and answers to these and other questions, the Africa Safety Escalation Strategy Conference 2021 is therefore, calling for the participation of stakeholders in the Africa development project to examine the following sectors and issues:
▪ Identification of the leading challenges facing and confronting the African continent in the 21st century
▪ How safety and safety escalation can be of help in Africa
▪ Africa Continental, Regional and National/Country Responses to the issues of–
– Environmental ecologies (banditry, desertification, climate change, criminality, terrorism)
– Citizen safety and wellness
– social issues (peace and security of neighborhoods, interfaith relations, intercommunity/ethnic coexistence
– agricultural value-chain
▪ What works for Africa
▪ What is Next
The Africa Safety Escalation Response Strategy Conference 2021 is the long-awaited opportunity for stakeholders to evaluate and provide the most workable responses to the challenges posed to effective living and working on the continent. It will afford the participants to the opportunity to design strategies that are best fit-for-purpose in addressing challenges inherent in communities that can lead to gradual and sustainable development, growth, and recovery.
Bakrania, S. with H. Haider (2016). Safety, Security, and Justice: Topic Guide. Birmingham, UK:
GSDRC, University of Birmingham.
The Importance of Safety- and Security-related Requirements, First of a Three-Part Series.