Botswana hosts Intelligence and Security Conference
31 Jan 2023
As Botswana, through the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) is hosting the 18th Ordinary Session of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) conference - now on its second day -
BOPA reporter, Moshe Galeragwe engages DIS director for Public Relations, Mr Edward Robert to get insights on the conference, which is themed Food Security, Conflict and Peace in Africa, out of th concern that CISSA has for food security in the continent.
WHAT IS CISSA?
CISSA stands for Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa. The body was established on August 26, 2004 in Abuja, Nigeria by heads of intelligence and security services of Africa and is mandated to assist the African Union (AU) and its institutions to effectively address the seemingly intractable security challenges confronting Africa.
It was also conceived as a mechanism of dialogue, study, analysis, consulting, concerting, and adopting common strategies towards common security challenges among intelligence and security organisations of Africa. Its headquarters are in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
HOW IS CISSA MEMBERSHIP ATTAINED?
Membership is open to all intelligence and security services in Africa. Currently, 51 intelligence and security services are signatories to the CISSA Constitutive Memorandum of Understanding and are thus CISSA members. As it stands, the regions of Southern Africa and West Africa have 10 members each, North African region has six members, East Africa has 12 members while Central Africa has eight members.
WHAT IS THE MANDATE OF CISSA?
It facilitates capacity-building and harmonises approaches to common security threats as well as coordinating strategies to provide advice on appropriate course of action on matters within its mandate. The aim is to enhance the development of an indigenous African security doctrine in order to establish a common basis of study and analysis of harmful phenomenon and factors to the stability of members. Other functions of CISS are delegated by the AU Commission.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BOTSWANA TO HOST THE 18TH CISSA CONFERENCE?
The 18th CISSA Conference marks the beginning of Botswana’s tenure to hold the committee’s chairmanship. As such, Brigadier (Rtd) Peter Magosi by virtue of being the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) will be the new chairperson. The conference meets in an ordinary session once a year prior to the Assembly of the AU of heads of states and governments, and reviews the state of peace and security in the continent.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THIS CONFERENCE?
The conference will offer a unique opportunity for African heads of intelligence and security services, security experts, prominent intellectuals, and partners to exchange on the practical implementation of the recommendations emanating from the discussions on how to seek solutions to the myriad of security challenges, including food insecurity affecting the continent.
During the closed sessions, the conference will deliberate on major issues of security concern on the continent linked to food security and adopt a final declaration, as a roadmap that will deal with various threats to peace, security, and stability in Africa, including food insecurity.
WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND FOOD SECURITY?
Intelligence agencies play a key role in identifying and assessing potential threats to food security, such as crop failures, natural disasters, and geopolitical tensions that could disrupt food supplies. They also gather and analyse information on food production, consumption, and trade to assess a country's food security situation and identify potential vulnerabilities.
Intelligence agencies use this information to inform government decision-making and policy-making to mitigate potential risks to food security. For example, they can provide early warning of potential food shortages, which can help governments engage necessary mitigatory mechanisms. Additionally, intelligence agencies can help to monitor and track illegal activities such as food fraud, smuggling, and counterfeit, which can undermine food security.
Intelligence agencies, therefore, play a critical role in identifying and assessing potential threats to food security and providing information to support government decision-making and policy-making to mitigate risks to food security.
HOW WILL THE CONFERENCE BENEFIT ORDINARY BATSWANA?
As part of his road map for resuscitating the country’s economy, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi aspires to turn Botswana into a prime destination for international conferences. With the 18th CISSA Conference, the potential of that desire is being realised. This conference shows that many opportunities will emerge as a result of Botswana becoming a major conferencing destination in Africa. It is apparent that there is need to build more conferencing facilities, hotels and other resorts. To that end, small and big businesses stand to benefit as there is a clear value chain which is key to supporting international standard conferences. The trade and investment agencies are also here to exhibit ther products the conference by some local companies.
IS THIS CONFERENCE BE OPEN FOR THE PUBLIC?
As a norm with intelligence and security activities, the conference is held mostly in closed sessions. However, the opening and closing sessions will be open to the public. The media will also be allowed to cover both the official and closing sessions of the conference. Ends
Source : BOPA
Author : Moshe Galeragwe
Location : GABORONE
Event : interview
Date : 31 Jan 2023