On 2 November 2016, the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Patrick Nyamvumba officially opened the 10th African Conference of Commandants (ACOC). The 2 days conference is held under the theme “Educating Lessons Learnt from Contemporary African Conflicts and Crises”. Delegates attending the conference come from 19 African countries’ military colleges, as well as partners including the South Africa-based British Peace Support Team (BPST-SA).
In his opening remarks, Gen P Nyamvumba pointed out that the current ACOC meeting like the previous ones aims at enhancing military professionalism in Africa through education, training and development of officers in African colleges. The CDS noted also that the scope, impact and complexity of contemporary security challenges “require our concerted effort to finding workable solutions and undertaking meaningful steps in actualizing them, through preventive, proactive and reactive bold actions”.
Gen Nyamvumba further urged participants to the conference to focus on lessons learned from the past and contemporary conflicts and crises in Africa in order to enhance the interoperability capacity of those who will be assigned in peacekeeping missions in future, with broader understanding of the issues, processes, roles and proper management of challenges involved.
Maj Gen J Bosco Kazura, the Chair of the 2016 ACOC recalled that the organization’s objective is primarily to promote cooperation in the field of higher defence education and training to effectively contribute to the security of the African continent. He said that ACOC acknowledges that relentless, professional, harmonized and standardized education and training is one of the important issues that should be undertaken with the seriousness they deserve in the current security environment and its related risks.
The 10th ACOC meeting has elected the new chair for the Year 2017. The incoming Chair is Brig Gen S.D Nombewu, Commandant of South Africa Defence and Staff College.
The ongoing conference is attended by commandants of African Institutions of Higher Defence Education from the following 19 African countries: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Rwanda, Tchad, Uganda and Zambia.