IGAD efforts to advance peace and security in the region has been lauds by Hamdok

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 8, 2017– Deputy Executive Secretary, Abdalla Hamdok of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), on Thursday praised the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for holding regular meetings to discuss the root causes of problems facing the region.
Addressing the opening session of the Constitutive Meeting of the IGAD Regional Strategic Dialogue Forum in Addis Ababa, Mr. Hamdok said such meetings enhance better understanding and analysis to advance peace, security, economic development and governance efforts in the region.
“It is in this context that this constitutive meeting of the IGAD Strategic Dialogue heralds an important step in the right direction to provide insights and produce actionable policy recommendations on the various dimensions of issues under consideration,” Mr. Hamdok, who’s also the ECA Chief Economist said.
He said the interlinkages between peace, security and development could not be overstressed. Evidence abounds, said Mr. Hamdok, that peace and prosperity ultimately feed on each other.
“On another note, depressing narratives can also be observed on IGAD Region’s numerous socio-economic, political and security challenges; all of which usually mirror the traditional negative imagery on Africa,” he said.
However, Mr. Hamdok said, in spite of all their troubles, IGAD countries have added remarkable momentum to Africa’s recent image makeover and its new narrative of a continent on the rise against the backdrop of strong economic growth rates averaging five percent during the last decade and half. The countries include Ethiopia and Djibouti.
He said in the process to establish an efficient strategic dialogue forum, there was need to provide high-level guidance in three areas, including identifying strategies to ensure that the direction of intellectual exchanges and debates bears the potential to ultimately yield consensus among the various key actors in the region.
“There’s also need to determine the scope of thematic issues to be covered for addressing regional and transboundary trends and to define the nature of the cross-sectoral issues that will enhance convergence between the intellectual, diplomatic and political leadership communities,” said Mr. Hamdok.
He said the ECA valued the fruitful cooperation it has long enjoyed with IGAD and, the complex and multifaceted role IGAD is called to play as an architect and implementer for the emergence of a politically stable, well governed, economically vibrant and integrated IGAD Region.
The two-day constitutive meeting is being held in preparation for the establishment of the IGAD Strategic Dialogue on the state of peace and security in the region or IGAD Strategic Dialogue 2017.
The IGAD 2017 Strategic Dialogue seeks to establish a platform for a comprehensive and thorough discussion on the peace and security challenges facing the region by bringing all stakeholders together to jointly reflect on them and propose remedies.
At least 32 regional experts are attending the constitutive meeting in Addis Ababa.
IGAD was created in 1996 to succeed the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development that was founded in 1986 to deal with issues related to drought and desertification in the Horn Africa.
The regional block came to existence with a new name, organizational structure and a revitalized ambition of expanded cooperation among its member States with a mission to assist and complement the efforts of the member States to achieve food security and environmental protection, peace and security, and economic cooperation and integration in the region.

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com