New Threats to the Peace and Security of Africa and the World by HE Mr Armando Guebuza President of the Republic of Mozambique
Dr John Chipman Director-General and Chief Executive of the International Institute for Strategic Studies;
Honourable Ministers and Members of Parliament; Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a distinct honour and privilege to deliver this lecture in this highly acclaimed Institute that has devoted its 54 years of existence to providing a scholarly platform in which informed debates on international politics and diplomacy and global security take place. It is by interrogating conventional paradigms that this Institute has been able to enrich the knowledge base of many around the world about these and other related subjects of strategic importance the world over.
We are particularly honoured to have been asked to join the roll call of fellow African heads of State and Government who have graced this event to deliver a lecture which is named after a member of one of Africa’s most entrepreneurial families and a good friend of Mozambique – Mr Nicky Oppenheimer.
The theme we were asked to deliver revolves around Africa and the rest of the world facing new security, threats to international peace and development together. As the adage goes, global challenges, require global solutions.
Indeed, the new millennium has ushered in a radically transformed world. It is a world teeming with opportunities but, at the same time, full of challenges. Our success will lie, if we take the adage above very seriously, in building upon the opportunities and steering away from the risks. We must, in this regard, define the contours of the coming years in such a manner that an era of prosperity and self-sustaining growth may dawn the world over.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Since the dawn of humanity, security, in its diverse dimensions, has always been at the forefront of human existence, driven by the natural instinct that views individual and collective security as essential for the human species to survive and thrive.
It is perhaps ironic that in an era of unprecedented advances in science, technology, infra-structures and relative prosperity, the human race still finds itself grappling with the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals. These are minimum development benchmarks we agreed to honour more than 10 years ago. They are minimum because even when they will have been fully attained, poverty will still be rampant in many parts of the world. On the other hand, we are still failing to produce a secure world where the human race can live free from fear and where peace and harmony reign supreme.
In this regard, one of the glaring paradoxes of the modern world is that we spend vast amounts of money and use immense human effort which, if deployed for the benefit of all other dimensions of human security, would produce the kind of a stable world which, without doubt, we all dream about. An eloquent example of this paradox is the fact that the United Nations spends more resources in deploying military and security personnel around the troubled regions of the world than the funds it earmarks to promote the kind of development that, in our view, would preserve peace and stability. The total budget voted for 2012 by the United Nations, for peacekeeping operations has the largest single allocation in the entire United Nations system, amounting to $7.8 billion dollars. Yet the world is well aware of the benefits of promoting development to prevent conflict.
Examples that attest to this reality form bodies of United Nations Resolutions and United Nations Conferences and can also be found in many parts of the world. Very soon, we will all converge in Rio de Janeiro to reaffirm our commitment with the present and the future of our planet as our collective responsibility.
We all rejoiced because the end of the cold war and its wars by proxy in Southern Africa, for example, brought new hope for peace and security across the globe. By the same token, the downfall of the dreaded Apartheid regime was not only applauded because it signalled the end of institutional racial discrimination and oppression within South Africa but also because it would pave the way for an era of peace and security in Southern Africa.
It goes without saying that some of the inter and intra state conflicts that seemed obstinate to resolve have there been brought to an end or reduced in intensity. It is true that, for example, in our Continent we have to deal with sporadic challenges of unconstitutional removal of governments and with simmering conflicts that try to become fully fledged warfare. However, today we are better equipped and prepared institutionally to deal with these challenges. Our collective resolve not to return to the status quo ante is much greater than before.
We are, therefore, pleased to note that the scorecard of this new era is a highly positive one and that it lands a great deal to our peace and security.
Ladies and Gentlemen
In the more traditional approach, threats to security were seen through the prism of state actors. In the contemporary and more inter-dependent world, it has become evident that non-state actors are posing more and more unconventional threats to peace and security across the world. The terrorist attacks in countries not far away from our borders and elsewhere, have proved that the continent and the world are not immune to this type of insidious warfare.
Furthermore, the social and economic upheavals that take place in any part of the world are likely to have their consequences felt thousands of kilometres away.
Mozambique is a case in point: sustained influxes of emigrants have found their way into our country, over the last few years, posing all sorts of economic, social and security challenges that we are learning to live with and manage. Regretfully, it is not just the influx of genuine people seeking refuge from whatever problems their countries face. Trafficking of people, drugs and arms are part of this phenomenon.
What our experience shows is that no country in the world can proudly claim to have perfect institutions that serve as impermeable walls, either to transit smugglers or as an operating base for sophisticated crime syndicates. The lesson is that no single country can act alone against this new unconventional security threat however resourceful it can be - global solutions to global challenges is the name of the game.
In Mozambique, we pride ourselves of the endowment of more than 2 700 kilometres of coastline, which has earned us the nickname, Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and which is, in this sense, an enviable resource for our social and economic development. We also pride ourselves for sharing borders with many landlocked countries which bring revenue from the services we provide them with to access the sea and international markets. Both these advantages have their disadvantages. Both the maritime and the land borders are difficult to police and sophisticated gang of criminals are ready to exploit our institutional weaknesses and legal loopholes.
In recent times, our law enforcement agencies have, on many occasions, discovered scores of foreign nationals trying to enter Mozambique illegally by sea or by land. It was in recognition of the scale of the problem of people smuggling, for example, that we became one of the pioneer countries in Southern Africa in enacting specific anti human trafficking legislation in 2008.
The challenge we face is that, with the limited human and financial resources at our disposal, we are compelled to divert them to address this emerging challenge to our security and that of other countries.
We pay particular attention to these of kind disturbances because peace and security are central in our development agenda. That is why we state, time and again, that the only alternative to peace is peace itself, and we know there is no peace where there is no security.
Piracy on the coast of Somalia started as non-news event following the ouster of President Siad Barre and the many failed attempt to restore a modern state in that sister country. However, according to Anna Bowden in her report, of December 2010 entitled “The economic cost of maritime piracy”, already “in 2005, ransoms averaged around $150,000”.
Today, this phenomenon captures the imagination and the headlines from around the world as it spreads over a quarter of the Indian Ocean, with threats to root itself in the Red Sea. It is also worrying that this threat to international merchant shipping is spreading further: indeed, the International Maritime Organization recorded in the first two months of 2012, ten incidents of piracy in the Coast of Benin, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. Pirates hold ships, their crews and cargo as hostages for ransom. For instance, and we quote from Anna Bowden again “in November 2010, the highest ransom on record, $9.5 million, was paid to Somali pirates to release the Samho Dream, a South Korean oil tanker.
These financial resources are invested back into piracy, as they acquires speed-boats, more sophisticated communications equipment and weaponry, trying to give the impression that this terrible practice can become a successful business model. The burden of the piracy is very well documented and so is its economic impact. The African Development Bank estimates that diverting the petrol tankers away from the Somali coast to the Cape of Good Hope, in South Africa, would cost an additional $3.5 billion in fuel costs alone. Globally, it is estimated that the piracy activities could be costing the world economy between $7 billion and $12 billion. Studies have also shown that piracy affects the cost of shipping significantly through the increase in premiums. Vessels are increasingly required to carry armed units on board which adds to the burden of providing military units to patrol and escort the ships by the navies of different countries in the troubled waters of East Africa, posing new problems such as the collection and storage of the weapons used by crews when the vessels come to shore.
The sea is also a source of income and nutrition for more than 200 million Africans and any disruption aggravates the suffering of the vulnerable people who depend on it to survive.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, fisheries earn $1.7 billion per annum and are a source of income for some 10 million fishermen. The sea is an important source of livelihoods for hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans. We can add to this the on-going large scale activities in oil and gas exploration on shore and offshore, in Mozambique, some of which have resulted in important discoveries that promise to make a significant contribution to the development of our country in the medium term. This means the scale of the challenge that piracy brings to bear becomes even more apparent: piracy not only disrupt current economic activities but also poses risks to our future economic prospects as well.
Unfortunately, for the sponsors of these barefoot pirates these ventures are good and attractive enough to be worth risking the lives of these poor young Somalis who have no economic alternative but to join this bandwagon to get something, if they survive the dangerous adventure: according to the United Nations, in 2011 the pirates network managed to extort $170 million in ransoms.
If one is to take into consideration that the network extends into developed countries, three questions may be asked:
- The first question: how much do the barefoot pirates get in return for venturing into the high seas?
- The second: if the barefoot pirates are paid only enough to see the following day, could not this be a new form of modern day slavery?
- The third question: how could the various branches of intelligence collaborate together to bring to justice the masterminds of these operations?
The very fact that these and some other questions are still to be answered has given the network courage to dare to extend their reach beyond the coast of Somalia and find their way further south into Mozambique’s territorial waters. Not so long ago, a Mozambican fishing vessel was hijacked and later on modified to become a mother ship from which the speed-boats would start their operations from. Tragically, our nationals were gang pressed to join the pirates, only to be released by the Indian Navy when it was responding to the fire coming from their speed boat. Unfortunately some of these Mozambicans died on the spot.
We have since joined hands with Tanzania and South Africa to bolster our ability to patrol territorial waters in order to stave off the growing threat posed by the pirates. However, the challenge is global in nature. There are a number of United Nations Conventions and United Nations Security Council Resolutions on piracy. In our view, central to the resolution of the piracy problem is the stabilization of Somalia. There is a convergence of views that piracy will not be defeated solely by deploying sophisticated armies in the high seas to patrol and escort the merchant vessels. Mozambique will continue to play her role in SADC, the African Union and the United Nations to address the strengthening of State institutions in Somalia and in addressing the piracy challenge as a global phenomenon.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Any analysis of emerging security threats in Africa and the world requires a multidimensional approach which encompasses the underlying factors that cause insecurity to prevail in the first place. It also calls for the scrutiny of the trigger that causes threats to move from a latent or manageable state into full blown instability.
The issue of trafficking has long been identified as a potent threat not only to the lives they affect directly, but particularly for every single country in the world, be it developed or developing. In the worst case, drug syndicates have tried to either exert direct influence on certain countries in an attempt to establish safe corridors for drug trafficking or to capture the state institutions, and their law enforcement agencies altogether. We all know that trafficking, in all its forms and shapes, represents a direct threat to stability, as there is ample evidence that this phenomenon always brings with it the spectre of violence and subversion of the rule of law. The worse dimension of trafficking is that it is sometimes linked to networks of groups who use the proceeds from the illicit trade to fund the pursuit of their own dreadful activities of violence in the name of some obscure cause or goal. Conditions permitting, it has been observed these networks eventually set up base in countries where trafficking has weakened significantly state institutions to enable them to operate with near absolute impunity.
Another pernicious dimension of trafficking is the process through which criminal elements tend to use established institutions to legitimise their ill-gotten gains by introducing the proceeds of crime into the formal economy in what is commonly known as money laundering. The inflow of cash from dubious origins into a country can give a false sense of prosperity in the short-term, as the increase in consumption and asset price bubbles create the illusion of economic wellbeing. However, experience has shown that this process is usually a prelude of future social and political upheavals, as money laundering by its own nature requires some degree of subversion of institutions and the installation of a parallel system controlled by criminal gangs which competes with legitimate state institutions in all spheres of life and creates a host of social and economic distortions that eventually cost a high price for the return of society to normalcy. It is in this connection that we have established our national financial intelligence unit in 2007. It is producing very good and encouraging results and counts with the support of the Serious Organised Crime Agency of this country.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The framing of a comprehensive discussion around the issue of security cannot be complete without touching even briefly on other important dimensions that play a crucial role in stability both at national and international level.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that security will not be guaranteed unless critical dimensions of human security such as widespread poverty and environmental security are addressed. The Millennium Development Goals is just one of the many attempts in that direction. Economic hardships in developed countries and poverty in poor countries cause people to migrate in search of better opportunities. The perceived sense of competition for scarce resources is a time bomb we all have to prevent from detonating.
Climate change induces environment degradation and plays a part in the increase of frequency and intensity of natural disasters. These results in people migration and the competition for resources that follows can become security threats. We, once again call for a comprehensive and binding post-Kyoto agreement to address climate change.
Ladies and Gentlemen
We have laid before you a sketch of some of the emerging threats to security in Africa and in the world.
In Mozambique we believe that these challenges and threats cannot be addressed individually and in isolation because they tend to emanate from related root causes which can only be resolved if addressed together through a holistic approach. In this regard, regional and international cooperation is vital if we are to succeed in our quest to build a more secure, peaceful and prosperous world. Global solutions, to global challenges is the name of the game also when it comes to security for development.
The work of institutions such as this plays an important role in shaping the debate that can inform the development of policies based on sound research which is a key ingredient for the design of responses to the these challenges.
I thank you very much for your kind attention.
HE Mr Armando Guebuza, President of the Republic of Mozambique, delivered an IISS Keynote Oppenheimer Lecture on ‘New Threats to the Peace and Security of Africa and the World’ on Tuesday 08 May 2012.
Succeeding Mozambique’s long term leader Joaquim Chissano, Frelimo candidate Armando Guebuza won the 2004 Presidential and National Assembly elections and was inaugurated as the President of Mozambique in February 2005. President Guebuza went on to win another term in office with a landslide majority victory in October 2009.
Armando Guebuza joined Mozambique’s Liberation Front, Frelimo, at the age of 20, rising to the rank of General. In 1974 he was appointed Minister of Internal Administration in the transition government that lead Mozambique to its independence in 1975. Among others, Armando Guebuza occupied the posts of Minister of the Interior, Vice Minister of Defence and then Transport Minister in Joaquim Chissano’s first government. Before his Presidential victory he led the government side of the Supervision and Control Commission, the UN body overseeing the implementation of the Rome Peace Agreement which guided the country towards its first multi-party elections.
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