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Press Release: Launch of ISS West Africa Office in Dakar
26 October 2010


Dr Deogratius Barakamfitiye
Office Director Dakar
Institute for Security Studies, Dakar

ISS Press Release: Launch of ISS West Africa Office in Dakar

Dakar, Senegal -- 26 October 2010 -- In line with its Strategic Plan 2008-2011, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has recently launched its West African office, located in the Senegalese capital, Dakar. With its Head Office in Pretoria, and four regional offices in Pretoria, Cape Town (South Africa), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Nairobi (Kenya), ISS activities on West Africa have thus far been allocated to these offices. The Dakar office is aimed at filling this lacuna in the Institute`s geographic and linguistic scope.

The ISS Dakar office will particularly work towards the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which calls for partnership between the two institutions in view of addressing various challenges facing the region with regard to human security. The new office will spearhead ISS` work on West Africa on these and other issues. 

In pursuit of this purpose the ISS hosted a two-day consultative workshop with potential stakeholders and partners on the 21st and 22nd of October in Dakar. The meeting on 21 October assembled representatives of various institutions based in West Africa with which the ISS is already working or which it considers as potential working partners in the region. This was in recognition of the fact that the Institute is not coming to a region void of organisations working on similar issues, but that will work in synergy with those already in the field in view of complementing one another. 

On this first day of the workshop, the Institute presented, for discussion, a scoping study on key threats to human security in West African (ISS Situation Report, dated 18 October 2010).  The study touched on a number of the areas on which the new office will be focusing its work, including conflict analysis and early warning, research on challenges to democratic governance, and transnational organised crimes, partner institutions were invited to present a brief overview of their activities and to identify where they thought the new office could complement their work in addressing some of the challenges facing human security in the region. 

Partner institutions invited or present at the workshop included ECOWAS, the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), ECOWAS Small Arms Programme (ECOSAP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Femmes Afrique Solidarité (FAS), the Gorée Institute, as well as the Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA).  Partners present expressed their satisfaction with ISS` approach – particularly the research base and the continental experience it will be bringing to the region – and vowed to work closely with the new office.

The second day was devoted to consultations with potential international partners. The embassies of Canada, France, Germany, Luxemburg and South Africa sent delegations, in addition to representatives of OSIWA. All welcomed ISS` initiative and undertook to liaise with their capitals or headquarters in following up in the discussions.

The Institute takes this opportunity to sincerely thank OSIWA for their generosity in accepting to host this meeting and, most importantly, to allocate a wing of their office to the ISS for the foreseeable future.

The Dakar office will begin proper activities from January 2011, with the director already appointed to begin work in earnest and follow up on the recommendations of the two-day workshop. The new director is Dr Deogratius Barakamfitiye, a medical doctor who has an extensive and high-level experience in management of human and financial resources. He has also diplomatic and fund raising skills and experience. He has been elaborating health priority issues such as Polio eradication and Initiative for Malaria control in Africa for the 21st Century, and bringing them to the top continental political level. He has successfully mobilized support in his capacity as president of the executive board of the World Health Organization. Early warning, prevention, control and mitigation of Epidemics were among his responsibilities at Africa level. Ebola epidemic control in Kikwit (DRC) in 1995 is just an example of the experience Dr. Barakamfitiye brings to the ISS.

About the Institute:

The Institute for Security of Studies (ISS) is a pan-African organization that undertakes applied policy research, provides teaching and training as well as technical assistance.  The Institute is head quartered in Pretoria, South Africa with offices in Cape Town, South Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Dakar, Senegal. The ISS works for the advancement of sustainable human security in Africa. It seeks to mainstream human security perspectives into public policy processes and to influence decision makers within Africa and beyond. The objective of the Institute is to add critical balance and objectivity by providing timely, empirical research, teaching and implementation support on sustainable human security issues to policy makers, area specialists, advocacy groups, and the media.   

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