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MODERATOR: Good afternoon to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub. I would like to welcome our participants dialing in from across the continent and thank all of you for joining this discussion. Today we are pleased to be joined by U.S. Army Major General Roger L. Cloutier, Commander of U.S. Army Africa and Major General Molefi Seikano, the Ground Forces Commander of the Botswana Defense Force.
Maj. Generals. Cloutier and Seikano will discuss the African Land Forces Summit 2019 and importance of regional cooperation between military forces to strengthen security and stability across the African continent. Our speakers are joining us from Gaborone, Botswana.
We will begin today’s call with opening remarks from Major Generals Cloutier and Seikano and then we will turn to your questions. We will try to get to as many of them as we can during the time that we have, which is approximately 45 minutes. At any time during the call if you would like to ask a question, you must press *1 on your phone to join the question and answer queue. If you would like to join the conversation on Twitter, please use the hashtag #AFHubPress and follow the handles @USArmyAfrica and @africamediahub.
As a reminder, today’s call is on the record and with that, I will turn it over to the Ground Forces Commander of the Botswana Defense Force, Major General Molefi Seikano and U.S. Army Major General Roger Cloutier. Hello, are our speakers there? Hello? It seems we have a little difficulty. I beg everyone’s patience. We will try to reconnect with Botswana, just a moment please. Paul, can you mute?
OPERATOR: Go ahead.
MODERATOR: Is the AT&T operator on, please?
OPERATOR: Yes, I am, please go ahead.
MODERATOR: Hello, are our speakers there?
OPERATOR 2: Hello, right, okay, yes, they’re here but our guests are calling from the cell phone and we’re going to continue —
MODERATOR: Okay, we’re live so please — I’ve introduced them, they are ready to give their remarks.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: We have successfully co-hosted the 2019 African Land Forces Summit with our partner U.S. Army Africa. In previous summits, under various themes, we have co-hosted with the U.S. Army Africa and partner African nations. It has been proof of which candid engagements and dialogue all in efforts towards the ultimate goal of obtaining continental world peace and security. To our partner the U.S., U.S.A., the United States of America, we are grateful and to all peace-loving nations that honoured our dedication we will forever be thankful. Endeavours and platforms such as this and that Summit provide good framework to come up with innovative and concrete solutions to the African security problems.
Land Force Commanders who honoured invitations have operated from tactical, operational and strategic levels across the levels of structures. And as such, we’re blessed with a wealth of experience that really help us or contribute toward peace and security in the continent. It is important to note that the challenge — the challenges are common to all of us in the world. Therefore, the Summit provided an opportunity for all of us to engage in such experiences which will hopefully be an enabling factor for us as partners to lead such Africans’ militaries in how to security programs. It’s all about strengthening partnerships, promoting unity, building trust, which I believe is a precondition for bilateral, subregional, regional and across regions [inaudible] issue — security issues and problems. I thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Well, good afternoon, everyone and I want to thank you for joining us today. My name is Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier and I’m the Commanding General of U.S. Army Africa. So we just wrapped up the 2019 African Land Forces Summit, what we call ALFS and what a tremendous week that it’s been. Our wonderful co-hosts of the event, the Botswana Defense Forces, they really provided an outstanding venue and great hospitality for us as guests in a beautiful nation.
We had more than 40 African Land Chiefs, allies and international partners as part of this year’s summit. It was really a productive week of focused effort where we addressed regional security challenges, we shared best practices and we collaborated on solutions to tackle those challenges. The theme of this year’s summit was strengthening partner networks and it’s a fitting theme as a number of topics we addressed throughout the summit ranged from regional and multinational organizations to the power of those same partnerships.
We also had focused bilateral and multilateral sessions. We had candid open discussions and regional breakout groups and we really shared other meaningful face-to-face conversations throughout the week. As you well know, many of the threats that we face today have no boundaries, they cross borders, destabilize regions and sometimes they require significant cooperation when planning for a response. The land forces have an important role in addressing these challenges but no one country can do it alone.
We have to work in partnership. We have to work together with civilian leadership to develop solutions that are not only military-focused but solutions that encompass the diplomatic, economic and developmental efforts. So it’s been an extremely fruitful summit. We rolled up our sleeves, we built and strengthened relationships and we used this week as a catalyst towards action to achieve what I believe is in all of our best interests and that’s a shared goal of a secure, stable and prosperous Africa. So thank you for joining us on today’s call. And we look forward then to your questions.
MODERATOR: Thank you, sirs. Thank you. We will now begin the question and answer portion of today’s call. For those asking questions, please state your name and affiliation and limit yourself to one question related to the topic of today’s briefing: the Africa Land Forces Summit 2019 and the importance of regional cooperation between military forces in Africa.
For those of you listening to the call in English, please press *1 on your phone to join the question queue. If you are using a speakerphone, you may need to pick up the handset before entering *1. For those of you listening to the call in French and Portuguese, we have received some of your questions submitted in advance by e-mail and you may continue to submit your questions in English via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have quite a full call today so I would urge journalists to please keep their questions succinct.
Our first question I will read. It comes from our listening party in Kinshasa, DRC. It is from Luc-Roger Mbala, Le Nouvel Observateur. He asks, what did African nations gain from the ALFS 2019 and what can they expect from the U.S. efforts to expand its military cooperation with its African partners?
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Can you come again?
MODERATOR: He asks what did African nations gain from the summit and what can they expect from the United States’ efforts to expand its military cooperation with African partners.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Yes, this Land Forces Summit is a forum which brings us together, African Land Forces Commanders, to discuss and develop innovative solutions to address the continental problems. So in this Summit, the Summit provided an opportunity to strengthen the networks, as the theme this year goes “Strengthening Partner Networks”. It is my sincere belief that the Summit with that motto achieved that noble objective where we [inaudible]. It also created an opportunity to grow and strengthen existing partnerships and create new areas or supplemental areas of cooperation. It helps to build trust because one fundamental thing which is key between our military leaders, or leaders of the world, is to develop trust and it is with this [inaudible] that we will put on building blocks to create partnership from bilateral level, to sub-regional to regional and to international level.
So in summary, the Summit provided this but also came up with innovative solutions which the land forces will take home to address some of our issues that [inaudible] in these areas of Africa.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: And I — this is Gen. Cloutier, just if I could provide you know a little context to what Gen. Seikano said. You know, so over the past decades, ALFS has grown. This year we’ve had more participation from our allies and partners than ever before. In total we had a representation from approximately 50 countries across the globe that brought together allies and partners from over 40 countries in Africa, the U.K., France, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, the African Union and nearly all of our National Guard State sponsorship programs were here also. So this increase in people wanting to participate in ALFS over the years is really representative of the strengthening partnerships and growing trust between our militaries.
We heard what Gen. Seikano said they gained from it. We gained a tremendous amount from ALFS that allowed us to conduct bilateral engagements, multilateral engagements and really to strengthen the already-existing relationships we had with many of the countries on the African continent and to forge new ones. And ALFS is really just the beginning. So what we’ve said in the context of the forum is this is the starting point. And so when we leave here is when the hard work really begins. These new partnerships and friendships that we formed are going to carry us forward as we work together to solve the conflict that’ve been on the continent. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Our next question I will go to Peter Fabricius in South Africa. Operator, can you open the line please?
OPERATOR: Please go ahead, your line is open.
QUESTION: Thank you to the two Generals. Thank you, this is Peter Fabricius from Daily Maverick, can you hear me?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Can you hear me? Okay, I will — both of the Generals, one of the issues we have in this part of the world, Southern African is arising insurgency which seems to have some jihadist flavor in the North of Mozambique crossing over borders to Tanzania and beyond. I wondered if that was discussed in the summit and in the context of regional cooperation and what the thoughts were about how to address it. Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yes, this is Maj. Gen. Cloutier. Yes, it was discussed. So you know terrorism is a threat to all nations. So therefore it’s really to everyone’s benefit to collaborate on different ways to deter and if necessary defeat those terrorist organizations. So we’ve all got something to gain through cooperation and collaboration and really there’s a lot of people who have been engaged in this business for many years. And it’s a great opportunity to share best practices and talk about ways that we can collectively work together to eliminate any terrorists’ organizations that are operating. Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Back to that, this is Gen. Seikano. Terrorism is a network. And you know, as it is a network, it takes partnerships to be able to break those networks. So this conference, this Summit is an enabler for that network which will go on to enabling sharing of information and coming up with the best responses to dealing with the threats across the region or in the Sub — in the region, thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question came from Neo Brown at 105.3 Afro FM in Addis Ababa. What are your thoughts on how countries, particularly African nations that are facing internal conflicts can invest in peace-building instead of war? What can Ethiopia gain from the Africa Land Forces Summit in terms of dealing with internal conflicts?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Well this is Maj. Gen. Cloutier. And so what I’d really like to talk about though is regardless of the challenge that’s being faced, whether internal or external, you know, across the continent, really across the globe, it’s about the 3D approach, you know, diplomacy, development and defense. And so I think it takes that collective approach to problem-solving regardless of the context of the issue that you’re facing.
MODERATOR: All right thank you. Our next question came in from Julie Sefu of B-One FM in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And she asks, can African Land Forces on different trajectories and trained by Francophone and Anglo-Saxon instructors having dissimilar cultures possibly co-exist in the context of this summit?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yes, yes, ma’am. So Maj. Gen. Cloutier. And I think what I’d say is they absolutely can and they already do and we’ll talk a little bit about that. So in 2018 for example, U.S. Army Africa did theater security cooperation activities in over 31 countries. In fiscal year 19 we’re going to do nine multilateral exercises. We’re going to do upwards of 253 theater security cooperation events. There’s bilateral training that occurs. There’s partnership, there’s conferences, and there is — we bring together, you know, medical professionals to do medical readiness exercises. We do training to help prepare African militaries who are deploying in support of peacekeeping or peace-support operations,things such as medical training, counter IED training, those type of things.
So the short answer is, it absolutely can and it already does. And ALFS provides an opportunity where we can all come together in one forum and discuss ways to strengthen what we’re already doing – and to strengthen what we’re already doing.
MODERATOR: Good, thank you very much. Next we will take a question from Gowenius Toka from the Sunday Standard. Operator, can you open the line, please?
OPERATOR: And the line is open, please go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you. General, my question would — it’s about the United States of America and the Africa in this partnership with the African countries, like you earlier on indicated that are motivated more by shared concerns for the rising issues or problems or challenges that are potentially constitute or could pose threats to them. But from a point of view of your past initiatives or efforts to secure military bases in Africa, are you, will you continue to have any negotiations with any of the African partners to secure partnership — I mean to secure military bases for AFRICOM?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yes, so this is Maj. Gen. —
QUESTION: Let me — do you have any special reason why you chose Botswana? Is it because of the political changes either inside Botswana or inside Africa? Are they a concern to you? And lastly are you worried about China’s influence in Africa? Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Okay so that was quite a list of questions there so let me kind of start at the top and just say that you know, right up front, a safe and secure and stable Africa is absolutely in our national interest. And you know the United States seeks to limit its presence on the ground in Africa. So we work with and through our African partners and we try to address common security challenges. So the U.S. military presence in Africa is mostly through small teams that conduct training and partnership engagements with other African partners.
And then with respect to how we choose ALFS, so again this is the seventh ALFS that’s been done on the continent and the location of the summit varies from year to year to really allow different regions the opportunity to host the event. So the host nation is determined through coordination with partner militaries along with some internal assessments and processes to ensure that all the appropriate resources are available to host ALFS.
So it’s a pretty thorough process that takes a lot of things into account. And Botswana is an absolutely fabulous partner. They’ve really done a phenomenal job as a co-host this year and I could not be more pleased with the way ALFS 2019 went, with over 41 African nations represented, tremendous engagements over the past four days, sharing of ideas and strategies. And I have to tell you, at the end of this ALFS, there were a lot of new relationships that had been formed and friendships that had grown.
So again like I said, ALFS is just the catalyst. It’s the beginning. And it’s the outputs processes and partnerships that continue to grow after this that make it really important. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question has come from Brook Abdu from The Reporter newspaper in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He asks, what are new and current security threats in Africa, especially concerning the volatile East African region?
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Maj. Gen. Seikano. The current security problems facing Africa, top of the list is the issue of, you know, terrorism. And you know, terrorism knows no borders. And that we have seen terrorism [inaudible] into many losses of life in Nigeria, Boko Haram, loss of lives by Al Shabaab and right now the threat that we are facing right now, especially in Southern Africa sub region, like in Mozambique, there’s a footprint of or indication that there’s a footprint of ISIS in Mozambique. And given that, this is one threat that if it is really, it can be a problem in African and it can expand if we don’t collaborate, work together as partners to address the problem. So of course they are problems of armed groups here and there, but this sometimes leads to intrastate conflicts in African continent. Which have many in the past, in the contemporary world, continues to envelop our continent. So terrorism and other armed groups on the African continent are the threats to peace and security in our continent. Create partnerships and more partnerships, strengthening those partnerships. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Operator, if you could open the line for our next question with Pearl Matibe from NewsDay, Zimbabwe.
OPERATOR: Pearl’s line is open, please go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you very much to both Commanders. I just wanted to express my thankfulness, this is very, very valuable conference call. My question is simple. Since it appears that Zimbabwe was not invited, how do you hope to resolve cooperative solutions to regional and transregional challenges and threats to successful outcomes since Zimbabwe now chairs the SADC Politics Defense and Security? Thank you so much.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Please come again?
QUESTION: My question is, how do you hope to resolve cooperative solutions to regional and transregional challenges and threats to achieve successful outcomes since Zimbabwe now chairs the SADC Politics and Defense Security portfolio and yet they were absent at your Summit. How do you hope to be successful?
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: First and foremost, Zimbabwe is one of the SADC member states. And there is not way that we are going to leave Zimbabwe or SADC when we are addressing issues of security in the region. Because Zimbabwe’s problems are our problems. We’ve had [inaudible] in Zimbabwe, there’s been an over [inaudible] in the SADC region. So Zimbabwe was part of this summit, it was represented in this summit. So the issue of continuing to engage by that side in Zimbabwe was chief for the Republic of Botswana and Republic of Zimbabwe so that from strategic level, from our chiefs, from our presidents, our defense chiefs, we can be able to really come up with the areas where we need to cooperate with Zimbabwe, to help Zimbabwe recover from its socioeconomic conditions. Because we do understand that for some time, Zimbabwe has had a rough and then [inaudible] for its assurity, it requires the regional solution. And we as African member states, we have to ensure that we invest in engagement and that any other formal systems to develop capacity of Zimbabwe to be able to address its socioeconomic problems. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question was sent in advance from the listening party in Kinshasa DRC. It comes from Malou Mbela, RTNC Radio regarding jihadism on the continent. What is the opinion of the summit co-hosts on the fact that Central Africa, a region that was spared from the scourge for years is reportedly facing this threat and is military force the best response to this problem?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Okay so Maj. Gen. Cloutier again. You know I just want to reiterate that terrorism is a threat to all African nations, right? Or really around the globe. So it’s to everyone’s benefit to collaborate on different ways to deter and if necessary defeat any terrorist or violent extremist organizations. So we all have something to gain. And again, there’s no single answer to solving that problem. It takes a whole of government approach to defeating any violent extremist organization or any terrorist organization.
So again, that’s what ALFS is about, bringing those 41 African countries together, five allied nations and all of us collectively discussing different approaches and ways that we can partner and work together to bring that secure, stable and prosperous environment, thank you.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Maj. Gen. Seikano, just [inaudible], sovereign challenges. Sovereign challenges require a whole of government approach, as he said. And when it comes to terrorism, it is critical that through the whole of government approach, we look at the root causes and the underlying factors of which have given credence on the rights of these terrorists groups. So we have to come up with more than one line of efforts to address the issue. That’s why the whole of government comes through because there is an issue of a combination of their soft power and the hard power to address the problem. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Our next question was sent in from Bamlac Teddesse from Afro FM Radio station in Addis Ababa. How do you feel that the United States can help states fight extremism and other threats to the continent while under the new U.S. Administration you are decreasing your military involvement on the continent?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yeah, so Maj. Gen. Cloutier here again. Thank you for the question but our cooperation, our exercises, our partnership in U.S. Army Africa and on the continent has never been higher. In fact, our exercise schedule was growing, our theater security cooperation schedule is growing and will be bigger next year than this year. So there’s no reduction in what we’re doing on the African continent.
And again, you know in FY-19, nine multilateral exercises that included you know, over 30 African countries, over 250 theater security cooperation events and we’re committed to being great partners on the African continent, providing training where it’s needed, providing assistance where it’s needed. We’ve got the Accord series of exercises that are regionally focused and they help our partners in those regions develop solutions to their own specific regional security challenges. So from where I sit as a Commander of U.S. Army Africa, we have never been busier and I see our workload only increasing. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. We will take a call please, operator from Yonathan Yosef in Ethiopia, please open the line.
OPERATOR: Yonathan, your line is open, please go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, Yonathan Yosef from Addis Media Network, from Addis Ababa English broadcasting.
MODERATOR: Yes, please ask your question.
QUESTION: Yes. Now my question is for the General Roger regarding the cooperation between the U.S. military forces and our Ethiopian military forces related to strengthen security and stability across the continent, but especially regarding Ethiopia because of the recent attacks, how is the cooperation between our two military forces? And with, related to the attacks, the recent attacks, can you say it is a cooperation because many say that it was not cooperation because it was happen in the regional [inaudible] and what are the characteristics of [inaudible] related to military explanation. Thank you very much.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: So Maj. Gen. Cloutier here. I — I couldn’t hear most of the second part of the question. But here’s what I can say. So first of all, Ambassador Cloud, the U.S. Ambassador to Botswana expressed his sincere condolences to Ethiopia for what occurred there just a few days ago. Ethiopia was invited to the Summit and because of what occurred, they unfortunately could not come. But we, as U.S. Army Africa are absolutely committed to partnering with Ethiopia. We have an exercise scheduled there, Justified Accord that scheduled to occur. That’s ongoing.
We have other program training and engagements that we’re committed to doing with our Ethiopian partners. So from the U.S. Army Africa perspective, the partnership is strong. And we’re going to continue to train and partner with the Ethiopians. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for only —
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: [inaudible].
MODERATOR: Oh, excuse me. Go ahead.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Maj. Gen. Seikano here. What I can say on behalf of my government and the military, the Botswana Defence Force, we express our condolences to what happened to one of our — the people who have sacrificed his life to defend you or to bring peace and security there to this world. So our condolences. But as African partners, we are more than willing to work with all African partner relations in any endeavor to bring peace and prosperity to African, thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: And then I just want to add one thing and you know, in the African Land Forces Summit, there was actually a minute of silence where every delegate, over 300 stood in solidarity to express their condolences for what occurred in Ethiopia. And on behalf of U.S. Army Africa, I also extend my condolences to them. So everyone in ALFS expressed their deepest condolences for what occurred. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Our next question was sent in from Top Congo FM, from Cyrille Milandou. Who asks, the military base in Kamina, former Katanga Province, was run by members of the U.S. Armed Forces under President Mobuto. Does the U.S. consider returning to the DRC to revive that base?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yeah, so Maj. Gen. Cloutier here again. The United States seeks to limit its presence on the ground in Africa as I said before. We work by, with and through our Africa partners, so that means most of the activities are conducted by our African partners with the support of the United States and through cooperative relationships. So — and that’s all focused on addressing common security challenges.
So U.S. military presence in Africa is mostly through small teams, like I said before, conducting bilateral training or multilateral training and partnership engagements. I met several times during ALFS with the DRC Land Forces Commander, Maj. Gen. Kyumbu and we discussed whole of government approaches and we discussed further ways that we can cooperate between our two countries. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Our last question today will go to Gowenius Toka from The Sunday Standard. Operator, can you open the line, please?
OPERATOR: The line is open, please go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, thank you, thank you. My last question is by nature of the U.S. influence or the power that we look upon in terms of a lot of issues of international interest, naturally there’s curiosity when we hear trade issues and whatnot. So that’s why I was asking the question of is the U.S., is China’s influence in Africa, is it confirmed? And lastly, the last question is, there has in the past, been issue of concern or debate regarding the U.S. efforts to secure military base for AFRICOM, especially in southern Africa. And there was a problem or concern. So I was saying, is the U.S. still keen, is it at the moment negotiating with any partners in the region, including Botswana or South Africa ,to secure a military base? Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yeah, so the transmission, I really couldn’t understand everything. What I can say again is, you know, the United States’ intent is to limit its presence on the ground in Africa. U.S. Africa Command is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent two years there as the Chief of Staff. That’s where the headquarters is. U.S. Army Africa is stationed or headquartered in Vicenza, Italy.
And so we try to address common security challenges by keeping U.S. military presence in African small and through small training teams that conduct training and partnership engagements with our African partners. As I stated before. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We, if I could ask our Generals, Peter Fabricius, from South Africa has one last question. Do you have time to respond?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Sure, yes, ma’am.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Operator, can you open the line for Peter Fabricius?
QUESTION: Okay, thank you very much. I just want to ask the Generals, did South Africa participate in the summit? That’s my question. If not, why not?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Yes, this is Maj. Gen. Cloutier here. So absolutely South Africa participated. I had several bilateral engagements with Brigadier General Hlangwa. We had great discussions. I ate dinner with him. I saw him throughout the conference. So we had great discussions in a bilateral context and in a multilateral context with South Africa. So they were absolutely here the entire time. They were invited and they were a great participant. Thank you.
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Maj. Gen. Seikano. I’m here confirming what he just said about South Africa participating in the Summit and I also have engagement with the Chief of Staff of the Army of South Africa on issues that are subregional and other regions of the world. So you are right, they were here. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Maj. Gen. Cloutier, Maj. Gen. Seikano, did you have any closing remarks for today?
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Would you like to go first?
MAJ. GEN. MOLEFI SEIKANO: Maj. Gen. Seikano. What I can say is that developing partner networks is very critical because it promotes networking, it helps to build partner networks and it is through the partner network that we can break the networks of those who are against peace, against world peace. So for the issue again is that no country deal with these security challenges alone. And some public security challenges call for all of us to partner, to work together, to strengthen relations, to develop – to help each other to develop capacity and capabilities. So partnership is critical. And a summit like this one, the Land Forces Summit, is very, very important and it will go a long way to creating a deep understanding of the root causes of the African security improvements, so that we can effectively deal with them. But for working concrete solutions or innovative solutions to these good works in order to contribute that the militaries’ [inaudible] socioeconomic development of these nations. We need a safe and secure Africa — and the world. And it’s important that we work with our partners and that we even extend our partnerships so that we can address this. Because a safe Africa, a safe and secure Africa will be an enabler for peace in the whole world and the whole globe, thank you.
MAJ. GEN. ROGER CLOUTIER: Maj. Gen. Cloutier and I wanted to just conclude by first of all thanking Maj. Gen. Seikano, the Botswana Defense Forces and Botswana in total for doing such a great job co-hosting ALFS 2019. Absolutely a magnificent effort from their part and they made this a truly worthwhile and wonderful experience.
And the last thing I would say is I think the fact that ALFS continues to get bigger each and every year and draw in more partners and more regional entities, kind of shows the importance of the event and the opportunities that are presented here. The key takeaway though to remember is ALFS is just a catalyst. It’s just the beginning of the dialogue and the discussion and what’s important is what actions come out of it after this and where we go in the year to come.
So we’re looking forward to ALFS 20. We’re looking forward to the great partnership that we’re going to have on the continent in the year ahead and I could not be happier with what I saw here over the past four days. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Great, that concludes …