The three-day Africa Resilience Forum 2023, titled “Financing Security, Peace and Development for a Resilient Africa” and organised by the African Development Bank, started in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, yesterday. Interpeace and its Finance for Peace initiative were featured prominently as one of the key partners of this milestone event. Peace Finance, an approach developed by the Finance for Peace initiative, was highlighted as a solution to the vicious cycle of conflict and underdevelopment.
A video by Finance for Peace to showcase Peace Finance was shown as part of the opening of the forum, helping to frame the event. The video was filmed as part of the joint research project by Finance for Peace and the African Development Bank in Mozambique.
Elhadj As Sy, Member of the Governing Board of Interpeace, was invited to speak on the opening panel titled “The Case for Peace-Positive Approaches that link Humanitarian, Development, Peace and Security Need”. He spoke passionately, outlining the importance of the peace, development and humanitarian nexus in providing sustainable approaches.
He said: “The key word is trust, between communities and governments. If that trust is broken, people remember. Any actors need to consider this question: Are we contributing to the problem, or are we solving it. We need to be building resilience of communities, building the path of a sustainable peace.”
Other speakers on the opening panel, jointly developed with Aswan Forum, included African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Delivery Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade; Gilles Carbonnier, Vice President, International Committee of the Red Cross; and Noura Hamladji, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director, Regional Bureau for Africa. The discussion on innovative financing solutions to advance peace was moderated by Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Director General, Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA).
Sitting next to As Sy, VP Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade of the African Development Bank said: “In order to deliver on the Peace Finance agenda, we need to build innovative partnerships. We cannot pretend to be able to do everything alone, but we can work together.”
“We particularly like all the work Interpeace is doing on Peace Finance, and there is a lot of potential there.”
Ambassador Deike Potzel, Director General for Crisis Prevention, Stabilisation, Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Assistance, Federal Republic of Germany, also attended the Africa Resilience Forum. Witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Interpeace and the AfDB, she said:
“I am so delighted to have witnessed the signing of the MoU between AfDB and Interpeace, to address the issues we are talking about today. This is about making the systems fit for purpose and shrinking the needs.”
“We are also listening to the UN Secretary-General who has called for sustainable fnancing for peace, which is also a part of the New Agenda for Peace. We need to unlock the different sources of funding including the private sector, DFIs and IFIs.”
Ambassador Potzel added: “This is what we are passionate about. We want to make this happen. I want to thank the AfDB for picking up the baton, and I also want to thank Interpeace for working on standards for peace, which is most important. The blended financing might help business not to shy away from the fragile contexts. This is where the future is.”
The 5th Africa Resilience Forum continues until Thursday when Interpeace’s Finance for Peace initiative hosts two panel discussions titled creating the structures and environment for Peace-positive finance and call for action on innovative peace positive private investments.