NAIROBI, Kenya --
Leaders from air forces across the African continent gathered here to attend the ninth annual African Air Chiefs Symposium taking place Aug. 26-29, 2019. The event, co-hosted by the Kenya air force and the U.S. Air Force, builds upon previous symposia, strengthening the partnerships between the 35 African partner nations and the United States.
The event is an opportunity for over 100 delegates from Africa and the U.S. to reinforce relationships and share knowledge and best practices. The theme for this year’s event is personnel recovery, however the event provides a forum to discuss matters of much broader importance.
“It brings together African Air Chiefs, their representatives and other distinguished personalities to share experiences on Air Force issues, concepts, best practices and lessons learned,” said Hassan Sei Coomber, Sierra Leone air force group captain. “It builds the capacity of participants to advise their governments, development partners and regional organizations on the effective and efficient use of the Air Force and air power.”
The symposium shares a theme with the African Partnership Flight, which took place last week at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya. APF Kenya focused on personnel recovery principles and practices, including combat search and rescue, wilderness survival and operational and tactical personnel recovery preparation and planning principles.
“Building partnerships is a journey, and these two premier events enhance our relationships and ensure that we build trust and confidence across our teams,” said U.S. Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “Having these events so close together allows us to continue the momentum generated from APF and use that to fuel our discussion here.”
The symposium also serves as an opportunity for African nations to join the Association of African Air Forces. The AAAF is a voluntary, non-political organization that focuses on the exchange of experiences and ideas, as well as collaborative efforts to support air operations across Africa. It was established at AACS 2015 when three partner nations (Mauritania, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal) and the U.S. signed the AAAF charter. Today, the association has grown to 23 member-nations. The growth of the AAAF, along with the continued success of AACS, highlights the growing unity between African partner nations and the U.S.