It always seems impossible until it is done #Silencingtheguns #DGTrends

Nelson Mandela, a man that we all love and respect, a true Pan Africanist once reminded us that revolutions and solutions always seemed impossible until they were done; indeed he was right.

30th to 31st October 2013 has seen the inaugural convening of heads of state, former heads of state, members of several governments, civil society, academia, think tanks and researchers but to name a few in Dakar, Senegal. This is to bring forth and propel a substantive and priority dialogue; that being, Silencing the Guns: Strengthening Governance to Prevent, Manage and Resolve Conflict in Africa by 2020.

The theme is inspired by the 50th Anniversary Celebration Declaration adopted by African leaders in May 2013.

Bold claim isn’t it?

Majority of us, I included, have at times found myself on the well known down trodden path of afro pessimism. A state of mind and being that has seen us cower and shy away from dealing with the challenges that we face across the African continent. We bear the brunt of the pernicious effects that war has brought on us yet still insist on the status quo remaining the same.

Development across the continent is increasing at an exponential rate and majority of us do know that it is still not at its optimum for one reason only: blazing guns. We must bear in mind that where growth increases disproportionately with security, it renders our efforts futile and this has been witnessed on a large scale, this is not new to us.

War has no emotion and does not discriminate, it does not have mercy on the business that you able handedly and painstakingly started several years ago, nor does it support the new exciting business venture that you take such pride in and it most certainly does not distance itself from your family. Make no mistake to disengage yourself from this topic; terrorism in itself has no borders and we have witnessed the extent to which it has spawned undesirable socio-economic consequences.

The third High Level dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance is a momentous forum as it is dedicated to the vitally important discussions affecting us all. Be it in Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Angola, Mauritius, intra and interstate conflict has crippled us and this dialogue could not have come at a more urgent time.

With majority of African states celebrating 50 years of independence or there about, it’s evident and disheartening to see the extent to which insecurity which has been exacerbated by corruption, poverty and poor governance has stagnated our progress in the last half century. Alive to our potential, that including human capital and resources, then democracy, governance and human rights cannot just be a mere dialogue but a top priority; a priority not only for us but for generations to come.

This is a dialogue that is focusing on sharing evidence based knowledge and analysis on the root causes of conflict in Africa and how they can be addressed through appropriate governance reforms; a forum that aims to enhance a dialogue on the exchange of lessons, experience and best practices in fostering accountable, responsive and effective governance in conflict situations and lastly, is a dialogue to concretize strategies for achieving synergy and complementarity between the Africa Governance Architecture framework and the Africa Peace and Security Architecture framework towards silencing the guns in Africa.

Undoubtedly, it is imperative for us all to be on the same page and this is an excellent forum that provides the platform for doing so. We all have the opportunity to come together to develop innovative and practical solutions to our common problems. It is only through concerted efforts and cooperation that we, as the African continent can address the ever increasing challenge that we face.

I invite you to join in the discussions and to stream in live at www.dgtrends.org/dgtrends-live or on social media using the hash tags #DGTrends and #Silencingtheguns.

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