The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in partnership with the Côte d’Ivoire Armed Forces organized the West Africa Logistics Conference in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, which took place from 19 to 20 September. Both organizers have characterized it as a significant gathering that brought together 50 prominent military logistics leaders from West African nations and the United States.
The conference was held over two days under the theme “Addressing Regional Logistic Challenges: Collaboration and Solutions.” It provided a platform for West African participants to exchange their unique experiences and perspectives.
The primary objective of the collaborative forum was to kickstart the development of tailored solutions for common logistics and coordination challenges.
“Regional military forces have an important role in working together to create logistics solutions that are durable, impactful, and lasting. The West Africa Logistics Conference offers an opportunity for logisticians from 13 West African nations, as well as the African Union and ECOWAS, to discuss shared challenges, collaborate, and work toward solutions together, and I look forward to continuing our partnerships,” said AFRICOM’s Director for Logistics, George Bresnihan. The rear admiral added, “I want to thank our partners in the Ivoirian military who have worked with US Command over the past year to help make this important conference happen.”
The start of the event featured introductory speeches from notable figures including Mr Bresnihan, who serves as the US Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire; Jessica Ba; Jean Malan, who holds the position of director of Cabinet for Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Defense; and Kirouin Bernabet, the logistics director for Côte d’Ivoire’s Armed Forces.
Over the two-day conference, the meeting’s programme had a lineup of panel discussions and dialogues led by collaborating organizations. These discussions covered a range of topics, including the enhancement of institutional capabilities, the proactive utilization of logistical data to anticipate potential challenges and enhance operational readiness, the optimization of resource allocation, and the effective communication of logistical shortcomings and their potential implications to senior decision-makers. Furthermore, the conference placed a special emphasis on the intricacies of being prepared for and responding to crises, encompassing situations involving internally displaced populations, food shortages, natural disasters, and pandemics.
The event drew several African countries and organizations, with participants representing a diverse array of States including Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Cameroon, Chad, alongside the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.
A few months prior, US Marine Corps General, Michael Langley, at the helm of the US Africa Command, and a US Marine Corps Sergeant Major, Michael Woods, holding the position of senior enlisted leader at AFRICOM, embarked on a visit to Côte d’Ivoire from 24 July to 27 July. Their principal aim during this visit was to fortify collaboration between the two nations. Mr Langley had placed paramount importance on traversing the African continent and engaging in dialogues with leaders of partner countries, as detailed by the AFRICOM Public Affairs department.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in U.S. foreign policy, and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe
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