Zambia to host Exercise African Endeavour 2013 in August
Livingstone, February, 12, ZANIS……Representatives from more than 40 African countries are in Livingstone to coordinate planning for the Exercise African Endeavour 2013, an annual military training exercise to be hosted in August by Zambia Defence Forces in coordination with United States African Command (AFRICOM).
Officially opening the conference yesterday which was preceded by a minute of silence in honor of the Kabwe road accident victims, Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba said Zambia was proud to host the event adding that the relationship built through Africa Endeavour 2013 will significantly strengthen African unity.
He said the successful implementation of African Endeavour 2013 will ultimately strengthen African ability to address trans-national threats and will enhance military co-operation efforts with the United States of America, African Nations, Regional Organization and other cooperating partners.
“African Endeavour 2013 will not only bring unity to the African Continent but also strengthen African Nations’ ability to enhance military co-operations efforts between the USA, regional organizations, African Nations and other cooperating partners,” said Mr. Mwamba.
Since its inception in 2006, Exercise African Endeavour has helped African militaries develop common, standardised military communications practices to better coordinate support for their humanitarian, natural disasters, or peace keeping activities.
The first African Endevour communication Exercise was held in South Africa in 2006, followed by Nigeria in 2008, Gabon in 2009, Ghana 2010, Gambia 2011 and Cameroon in 2012 with the next training exercise set for Lusaka from 6th to 15th August.
So far more than 1, 450 communications specialists have been trained under the programme.
Mr. Mwamba noted that the conference will lay a foundation for successful exercise in August by initiating collaboration and conversation towards the common goal of supporting future operations focused on peace keeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“ I have hope therefore that this planning conference will lay a foundation for successful exercise in August by initiating collaboration and conversation towards the common goal of supporting future operations focused on peace keeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” said Mr. Mwamba.
He explained that the creation of equipment testing, common procedures and best practices will also lead to improved capability of African Regional organisations and their troops to contribute and support African Unions’ quest for peace and security on the continent.
The Minister thanked the American government for sponsoring the event adding that the country and USA are involved in a number of military to military programmes from which Zambia defence forces are immensely benefiting.
And American Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella, said Zambia has been a strong supporter of peace keeping activities which African Endeavour fully supports.
He explained that communication capacity is a critical requirement for African collective security, even more so today than in the past with African now taking on increasingly complex operations.
The ambassador said it was for this reason that Africa Endeavor aims at developing strategic communications capability of all partners involved in order to respond to all sorts of crisis.
Mr. Storella observed that the real benefits of African Endeavor can be seen clearly around the continent as African Nations prepare to deploy forces as part of multinational peacekeeping coalitions to deal with crises and instability in Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
He also said African Endeavour was working to further develop coalition command and control processes to support the ever changing demands of African standby forces operations and regional maritime security operations.
Meanwhile, Mr. Storella offered condolences to the nation and to families of those who lost their lives in the Kabwe road accident last week.
“We offer our condolences to the Zambian government and especially to all the families of those who lost their lives and such accidents should serve as a reminder that tragedy can strike any nation; whether a natural disaster, a humanitarians need or security incident,” said Mr. Storella.
“We therefore, hope that Africa Endeavour will help African Nations to respond to the needs of their peoples to save lives and to provide a more secure and prosperous future across the continent,” he added.
And during a press conference the ambassador Storella said US$ 3,00,000 is being spent by the American Government every year to train Zambian soldiers in the USA.
He said apart from that the Zambian and American government have training opportunities for defense forces.
The African Endeavor planning conference has drawn more than 200participants from nations across African, including the African Union, as well as the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation(NATO), the European Union(EU) and the regional organization.