Mr. Akwasi Opong-Fosu, Minister of State at the Presidency, has said that Africa is becoming a major target and must be protected from the threats of terrorism and its associated crimes.
He said such a protection would go a long way to accelerate development since the continent represented the future alternative in many sectors.
Mr. Opong-Fosu made the observation at the 17th Crans Montana Forum on Global Security and Trans-national Crime in Geneva, Switzerland, during the official opening of the session.
The summit attracted personalities from government, academia multi-lateral institutions, business and non-state organizations to deliberate on global peace and security.
Some of the topics discussed included, “Global security and terror threat”. ‘The need for regional and international cooperation”, and “Security challenges in the energy and transport sector: Protecting energy supply chains.
Mr. Opong-Fosu said the topics were carefully selected to reflect the global situation of security threats and the urgent need to address them by the international community.
He said the concept of global security had evolved with time, such that threats to international peace and security were no longer viewed from the lenses of inter-state conflicts.
The minister said one of the best examples to show that conflicts were being rooted in intra-state situations, was how the internal conflicts in the Mediterranean had impacted negatively on the peace and security in Europe and the Balkans, through the migration crisis.
“Today, poverty, unemployment, natural resource exploitation and environmental degradation have fuelled social and political tensions and violence rooted in national governance issues with implication on global security and peace,” he said.
He said “other poverty-related issues such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS epidemics went beyond national to regional and global security concerns saying, these security threats are prevalent in developing countries, including Ghana”.
Mr. Opong-Fosu said under the African context to global peace and security, though democracy had taken root on the continent, there was still the need to strengthen governance institutions to reduce tension and conflicts.
He said on the economic front, Africa was transforming very fast with a rapid and sustained economic growth over the last decade.
“Many African countries continue to grow at a fast pace, averaging 4.5 in 2014, and are projected to grow at 5.1 per cent this year,” he said.
Despite the economic growth, he said there remained some challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, rapid population growth, lack of access to basic social services, illegal natural resource exploitation, fuel political and social tensions that threaten peace and security.
“Africa remains a paradox described as resource rich, but access-poor continent,” he said.
He said one of the woes of Africa was illicit financial flows which involved bribery and corruption of public officials, tax evasion, mispricing, transfer pricing and money laundering.