Horn of Africa officials reaffirm commitment to durable peace, stability in region

NAIROBI, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Countries in the Horn of Africa region are committed to fostering peace, stability, and inclusive growth after enduring decades of strife and ecological calamities, senior officials said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a virtual forum convened by the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, officials said tackling security and environmental threats is at the heart of efforts to spur economic growth and cohesion in the region.

Ethiopian Justice Minister Gedion Timothewos said the Horn of Africa region was beset by myriad challenges, including civil strife, droughts, forced migration, and terrorism, and long-term solutions hinged on galvanizing political commitment, regional cooperation, and citizen engagement.

Timothewos added that governments in the region were utilizing home-grown initiatives to end inter-communal hostilities and violent extremism that had been fueled by poverty, unemployment, and competition for scarce resources.

He said deepening legal and administrative reforms, fostering dialogue across ethnic divides, and encouraging inclusivity in the political processes will guarantee long-term peace, stability, and growth in the region.

Held under the theme of "The Arc of Insecurity in the Horn of Africa and New Breakthroughs," the virtual forum drew a wide range of participants, including policymakers, diplomats, and governance experts.

Monica Juma, national security advisor to Kenyan President William Ruto, said the Kenyan government had rallied behind regional initiatives aimed at tackling strife, radicalization, natural disasters, and under-development in the region.

Juma said there was a consensus among governments and regional blocs on the need to deepen trade and make investments in infrastructure and local manufacturing as a means to boost inclusive growth and political stability.

She added that strengthening institutions of governance and addressing ecological fragility and high youth unemployment will be key to averting upheavals in the Horn of Africa region.

According to Juma, Kenya has taken the lead in negotiating lasting peace in regional hotspots as a precondition to accelerate economic growth through trade, investments, skills, and technology transfer.

Kenya is supporting an inclusive, transparent, and consultative negotiation process to end inter-ethnic skirmishes in the region and rebuild political institutions, said Juma.

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