• Excellency, Peter Vrooman, United States Ambassador to Rwanda
  • General Jeffrey Harrigian, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces in Africa
  • Air Chiefs & Senior Officials
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to join you today to open the 11th Africa Air Chiefs Symposium.

First, allow me to warmly welcome you to Rwanda.

I also wish to commend the United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces in Africa, for the continued support to African air forces.

Strategic airlift is a critical component for the maintenance of peace and security on the continent, particularly for peacekeeping operations.

Nevertheless, our airlift capabilities are limited, and this affects the ability of African air forces to respond rapidly to security threats.

Many of Africa’s emerging security challenges are transnational in scope, and no one country has the resources to respond to them alone.

We must therefore prioritize partnerships. The benefits of working together are clear.

First, partnerships can enable African air forces to have access to quality aircraft for the transportation of personnel and equipment.

Second, partnerships can create opportunities for specialized training for pilots and maintenance crews.

And lastly, partnerships can help modernize air transport infrastructure, such as air traffic control facilities and air-to-ground communication.

As Africa’s air forces work towards enhancing military effectiveness, the continent’s evolving security landscape must be taken into account.

Threats are increasingly being posed by highly mobile forces, and as such, airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance are critical.

Funding will continue to be a challenge, but we cannot afford to let that override our collective commitment to stability on the continent.

Let’s continue working together to see tangible results.

To conclude, I want to emphasize that the discussions in the following days should be held within the wider context of Africa’s socio-economic development trajectory.

Security and prosperity are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one, without the other.

I trust that the symposium will facilitate this, and that even more countries will join the Association of African Air Forces.

Once again, thank you for gathering here in our capital. You are most welcome, and I hope you will enjoy your stay here, as you go about the business that has made us gather here today.

I thank you for your kind attention.