Africa Logistic Forum Opening Remarks by Ambassador Robert P. Jackson

Your Excellencies,
Commissioner Chergui,
General McDew,
Major General Akwa,
Mr. Bam,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning,

It is a distinct pleasure to join today’s opening ceremony of the Africa Logistic Forum here in Accra, Ghana. I am particularly pleased to be in the company of our distinguished colleagues from the African Union and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The United States continues to recognize the importance of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. The Centre’s mission—to provide training, education and research to foster peace and stability in Africa— is vital and has impact on real lives throughout Africa. The Centre provides personnel with sustainment training such as the Peacekeeping Logistics and the Multi-Dimensional Peace Support Operations courses. Its courses on conflict prevention, management, resolution, and peacebuilding prepare practitioners to provide logistics support for peace operations. I am impressed that the Centre has already trained more than 11,000 people from diverse organizations in essential aspects of peacekeeping operations. This Center has earned our thanks, and deserves our support. Thank you.

The Africa Logistic Forum is an example of how the United States can support African Nations to examine and explore continuing logistics challenges in Africa’s security sector. The forum focuses on analyzing the existing logistic gaps, explores practical applications, and surveys sound principles for effective logistics management.

Logistics encounter special challenges in unstable areas. For example, in Africa, transportation and freight costs are among the highest in the world. Limited services and the availability of infrastructure make it even worse. In order to alleviate logistic constraints, numerous agencies, commands and governments have come together to train personnel and conduct joint operations that benefit all parties. Efficient logistics, modern supply chains, and just-in-time delivery systems are more efficient, cut costs, and allow us to achieve our missions.

The support of the African Union within the region has been imperative for nations to accomplish our numerous tasks, such as enhancing operational capabilities. The AU provides necessary peacekeeping Operational-level logistics under applicable conflict area Rules of Engagement in the missions to Sudan, Burundi, and Somalia. The African Union supports our ideals of logistic support by addressing the regional issues of security and stability.

The United States’ main objective is to support African Nations with all required assistance. It is imperative to have experienced personnel with the right equipment and training if we are to overcome the logistical obstacles we face in garrison, operational or tactical environments.

Ghana is a success story for peacekeeping operations support. Our Ghanaian partners have been a major contributor to the United Nation’s peacekeeping operations, supplying more than 3,000 personnel, including police, military observers and troops in the past eight years. The United States is pleased to support these operations by providing essential training exercises. Exercises— such as the Logistics Peacekeeping Operations and the African Deployment Assistance Partnership Team conducted in Ghana, Togo and Benin in the last two years—have been essential for training logistical units and personnel.

The Logistics Peacekeeping Operations is a training event focused on logistics before, during and after peacekeeping operations. This exercise covered sustainment principals including preventive maintenance checks and services, subsistence and field feeding, general supply, transportation, distribution, as well as logistical estimates. In addition, the African Deployment Assistance Partnership Team bridges the gap between limited deployment capacity to participating nations in peacekeeping operations, humanitarian response operations and contingency operations. The African Deployment Assistance Partnership Team focused on tactical level logistics engagements, enhanced force projection capabilities to better support peace keeping operations, humanitarian relief operations, and increased deployment interoperability in joint and multinational operations.

These are just a few models of how the United States has been involved and will continue to support African Nations conducting Peacekeeping Operations worldwide. The United States will strive to shape its support towards Africa to meet the needs of our African partners as we strive to achieve the goals we all have in common.

The great Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan, for whom this Center is named, once observed that:

More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together.

He was speaking at that time of the global work of the United Nations, where he dedicated decades to craft peace. But his words are no less true in regard to the work that you are preparing for this week here in Africa. Indeed, we do share a common destiny. I am confident that work like yours will allow us to marshal the tools necessary to craft partnerships and, as Kofi Annan said, to face our goals together.

I wish you a great success in your conversations in the next days here.

Thank you.