BAHIR DAR, ETHIOPIA– A number of eminent African scholars has emphasized the importance of improved partnership and close collaboration among African nations in order to realize the financial reform of the continent when they addressed the 7th Tana Forum over the weekend in this northwestern Ethiopian city located on the shores of Lake Tana.

During a panel discussion on realizing self-financing of African peace and security provisions, they emphasized that working in accordance and collaboration can help the African Union (AU) realize the challenge of financing the AU peace and security operations by itself.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Assistant Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, said: African countries need to co-operate and strengthen their partnership to realize this reform. Member states of the AU should understand that financing all institutions of the continental body can give them a sense of ownership, she added.

She noted that the shared responsibility and common understanding on how to finance peace and security provisions are the critical mechanisms to realise the intended ambition. Onership of the Union cannot be isolated from other parts of the world, she said, adding: Thus, every member of the Union should understand the inclusivity of the ownership.

Mentioning that over 35 African countries contributed to the peace and security of the world in a fragmented way, Keita said the countries need to bring this power to one.

Dr. Reubel Briedety of George Washington University’s School of International Assistance said understanding state ownership is the first step to bring African solution for African problems. African countries owning their Union is not shutting out the rest of the world, rather leading their partnership in strategic way.

This year’s 7th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa was held in Bahir Dar city under the theme of: Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union”.

The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is an annual gathering platform for African leaders, stakeholders and thought leaders to collaboratively engage in exploring and exchanging ideas on African-led solutions to security challenges. Held in Tana, Ethiopia, it is an independent initiative launched in 2012 by a group of renowned Africans including the former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

During the Tana Forum, heads of state, academics, experts, policymakers and members of the public society discuss African-led solutions to peace and security challenges on the continent over two days informally under an African tradition of “talking under the baobab” tree.