About 30 nuclear experts from 18 African countries have begun a three-day meeting in Accra to brainstorm on a comprehensive Nuclear Treaty programme aimed at advancing the continent’s Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The participants are from countries including Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroun, Togo, South Africa, Niger, Sudan and Egypt are expected to deliberate on strategies to achieve progress on the implementation policy of priority commitment, aimed at highlighting opportunities to advance the NPT goals.
It is also expected to contribute to a 2020 NPT potential opportunities to advance Africa’s goals geared towards strengthening peaceful uses and risk, reduction and fissile material reduction to enable the continent collectively focus on the advancement of the inter-generational dialogue.
Topics to be discussed include, role of NPT in peaceful nuclear energy development in Africa, nuclear security and non-proliferation priorities, strengthening fissile material management, priorities for the NPT, and risk reduction, disarmament and article VI, priorities for action.
The rest are strengthening transparency between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapon states, nuclear deterrence and nuclear disarmament, nurturing the NPT’s next generational dialogue.
The executive secretary of the comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, Dr Lassina Zerbo, speaking at the opening lamented the widening gap between the a nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states which he claimed had become paralyzed over issues and decisions.
“We need to find a common ground on the issues of nuclear proliferation and disarmament, as initiatives continue to fragment, we cannot continue to fool ourselves as a common ground is needed to rebuild trust and confidence in each other,” he added.
He indicated that fresh contribution to negotiations by regional groups have stood for too long and urged for strategic dialogue to speed up economic and demographic prospects.
Dr Zerbo stated that Africa has become the newest hub for energy and nuclear power investments and urged that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support the continent realised its nuclear potential.
“This unique offers an opportunity to work closely together to ensure that the continent can work closely together to enjoy the benefit of nuclear energy while minimising the risks associated with it,” he added.
He stressed the need for a nuclear non-proliferation security and deserving investment in nuclear technology that requires strong co-operation with neighbouring countries coupled with a culture of transparency, accountability and the willingness to work together to overcome technological and security issues.
Dr Zerbo urged the continent to put head together and submit a common paper to boost Africa’s commitment to nuclear education in order to become responsible nuclear countries.
BY LAWRENCE VOMEFA-AKPALU