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Remarks of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat Chairperson of The African Union Commission at the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting in Abuja

Remarks of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat Chairperson of The African Union Commission at the Opening Ceremony of the High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting in Abuja

April 22, 2024

Your Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Your Excellency Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Dear Sister, Your Excellency Omar Aliou Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Honorable Ministers, Ambassadors, Special Envoys,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I wish to thank His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for inviting me to participate in this important High-Level Meeting on Counter-Terrorism. I would also like to congratulate the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the legendary hospitality extended to us and the excellent facilities made available for this Conference.

Indeed, the meeting of today is being held at a critical moment for our Continent. Terrorism and Violent extremism are the biggest evils of our time - spreading to all the five Regions of Africa. This is why, in February 2022, I referred to Terrorism as a form of metastasis, especially with the situations obtaining in the Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes Region, the Sahel and

Parts of Northern Africa.

The latest data from the Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) of the African Union in Algiers reflect a worrisome picture of escalating Terrorism across the Continent. They indicate a substantial increase in both the frequency and lethal nature of the Terrorist attacks in 2023,

with an average of 8 incidents and 44 fatalities daily, compared to a lower average of 4 attacks and 18 victims per day between 2017 and 2021.

Unfortunately, civilians continue to bear the brunt of these heinous acts, with over 7,000 casualties in 2023 alone. Moreover, the Security and Military Sectors have not been spared, experiencing an alarming 190.8% surge in losses in personnel, amounting to over 4,000 fatalities.

At the political level, this situation was and is still being exploited to feed into the negative speech for Unconstitutional Change of Government and for the rejection of our principles of democracy and human rights.

These figures underscore our collective and urgent need to re-evaluate our Counter-Terrorism Strategies to effectively address our vulnerabilities and shortcomings in the face of this growing phenomenon.


Enhancing our Strategies for combating Terrorism in Africa demands that we adopt comprehensive approaches. To fully realise the vision articulated at the Malabo Summit on Terrorism in 2022, Member States must translate their commitments into actions.

African Heads of State and Government have strongly reaffirmed their resolve to fight against Terrorism and Violent Extremism, stressing the need for coordinated efforts at Regional and Continental levels. The moment has come to work out an all-encompassing Continental Strategic Plan of Action to effectively fight against Terrorism across Africa.

As I stated repeatedly over the last years, we need an innovative approach to fight against Terrorism.

We cannot understand that UN Missions continue to absorb, every year, billions of Dollars, producing very modest results and that African States are not granted a minimum of resources to counter the tragic spread of Terrorism. In this regard I warmly welcome the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2719 on African-led Peace Missions adopted in December 2023. On behalf of the AU, I want to express our sincere gratitude to all those who supported this positive development.

However, we cannot understand that elsewhere in the world, coalitions to fight against Terrorism were established and that similar efforts are not made in, at least, one of the five Regions in Africa, where the destructive phenomenon is ravaging human lives, infrastructures and institutions.

Why our voices are not heard and heeded? Is it because other peoples and Regions deserve more and better solidarity?

For how long will Africa accept this double standard in the fight against Terrorism?
This Conference may miss its objective if it keeps silent over these questions. An innovative approach is crucial as I said. It should include a new model of financing the fight against Terrorism, greater involvement of African institutions and the Civil Society actors. Those National institutions and the Civil society, youths and women, in particular, should be supported by all means to play their irreplaceable role in fighting against Terrorism and Violent extremism.


This meeting affords us an important opportunity to foster international cooperation. I welcome the goals of this High-Level Meeting, which aim at promoting understanding and cooperation between AU Member States and our international partners. In so doing, we also demonstrate our commitment to

multilateralism, is especially crucial at a time when trust in this fundamental principle is low.

We must explore new ways to enhance regional cooperation, build institutional capacities, improve information sharing, increase multilateral cooperation and mobilise resources.

Within this framework, I commend President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his commitment to eradicate Terrorism from West Africa and the entire Continent. The African Union fully supports the ‘Whole of Society and Whole of Government’ Strategy of Nigeria to counter Terrorism and Violent extremism effectively. The leading role of Nigeria in the Multinational Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad Region is a further evidence of its commitment to combating Terrorism.

This reminds me of our common action when I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of my country and personally witnessed the efficiency of this lead role.

In this vein, I would like also to commend Algeria for assuming a leading role in the fight against Terrorism, for which President Tebboune is the AU Champion and stress the need for immediate action.

I welcome the unwavering dedication of ECOWAS and its recent decisive action to accelerate the deployment of the ECOWAS Standby Force in areas impacted by Terrorism. This commitment demonstrates the recognition by the Organization of the urgent need for collective action in the face of this common threat. The deployment of a Standby Force will provide the much-needed support to communities affected by Terrorism and help to enhance Regional security.

As stated earlier, the fight against Terrorism requires a Strategic and collaborative approach. In this regard, initiatives such as the Nouakchott and Djibouti Processes are significant opportunities to enhance our effectiveness in this fight. By prioritising collaborative initiatives and supporting reconstruction, disengagement, reintegration, and reconciliation efforts, we can address the root causes of Terrorism and promote sustainable peace and security. Partnerships, such as the "SD3R" Initiative (Support for the Disengagement, Review, Reintegration, and Reconciliation) of Persons Formerly Associated with Non-State Armed Groups in North East Nigeria, underscore the importance of working together to promote peacebuilding and stability.

It is essential that we continue to support such Initiatives and Mechanisms to tackle Terrorism effectively.

To conclude, Excellencies, I want to extend the appreciation of the African Union
to the United Nations. Since the Joint UN–AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, signed in 2017, our cooperation has grown stronger. Be it in the Horn of Africa or the Sahel, we are jointly responding to Terrorism.

I want to express our full recognition to the EU and other partners for their significant assistance to our structures and programmes, geared towards strengthening peace and security in Africa.

The mobilisation of all the efforts should encourage us to amplify our fight against these ravaging phenomena.

The time to act is now.

The time for concrete actions is now.

The time for results is now

The time for speeches is over. Even if I just made one!

I thank you for your kind attention.

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