This website uses cookies to ensure we can provide you with the best browsing experience.
NDC - News-NDC high-level course for Partners from the Sahel highly successful

NDC high-level course for Partners from the Sahel highly successful

  • 26 Jun. 2023
  • |
  • Last updated: 21 Jan. 2024 12:55

From 19 to 23 June 2023, the NATO Defense College (NDC) successfully delivered the second edition of the General, Flag Officer and Ambassadors’ Course for Partners – Sahel (GFOAC-P Sahel) on the premises of the G5 Sahel Defense College (G5SDC) in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

GFOAC-P Sahel course.

Organized in cooperation with the G5SDC, the Course contributes to strengthening NATO’s cooperation with Mauritania, a Mediterranean Dialogue Partner, by delivering an academic programme on NATO’s current security environment and policies. The Course also serves as a platform for engagement with representatives from the region.

The one-week event consisted of two parts. The first two days’ “Introduction to NATO” module was mainly aimed at Course Members of the G5SDC’s regular course (promotion) and its faculty. This was followed by a seminar for senior military and civilian officials. In 2022, only Mauritanian officials were present. However, for this edition, following political approval, selected senior representatives from other G5S countries as well as NATO Partners from the wider Sahara-Sahel region had been invited to attend the seminar in Nouakchott. Therefore, the organizers were pleased to welcome participants from Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, as well as from Egypt and Morocco. This expansion was made possible by support from NATO’s International Staff and the Defence Capability Building (DCB) package agreed at the Madrid Summit in 2022. In total, 118 officials and students attended the seminar.

After welcoming remarks by the Commandant of the G5SDC, Brigadier General Brahim Vall Cheikh Ahmed, the Mauritanian Minister of Defence, Hanena Ould Sidi, officially opened the seminar on 21 June, in the presence of the Minister of Higher Education and Research and representatives from all other Mauritanian ministries and many other governmental organizations. The Ambassadors of France, Germany, Spain, Türkiye, the UAE, the United Kingdom, and the EU, as well as most Defence Attachés stationed in Nouakchott, also attended.

The NDC delegation was led by the NDC Commandant, Lieutenant General Rittimann, who since 2021 has pushed hard to enhance cooperation with the G5SDC. He delivered the opening lecture of this year’s edition. All other lectures by well-known academics and experts, mostly in French, were delivered remotely but facilitated and moderated by NDC Faculty Advisors on site, and with remote technical and interpretation support from Rome.

The academic content was a good sample of what NDC offers as part of its regular courses in Rome. The programme included lectures on NATO, an aggressive Russia, the rise of China, the fight against terrorism, the evolution of the international order, the role of the US, regional security organizations, including in Africa, as well as resilience and hybrid threats.

During the Q&A periods and daily consolidation sessions, the participants engaged in lively debates expressing their great interest and concern for global and regional security issues and their consequences for the Sahel Region. The representative from Burkina Faso, Brigadier General Simpore Aie Barthelemy, Director General of the National Centre for Strategic Studies and former Minister of Defence, stated that the seminar offers a unique opportunity to meet and exchange views, enhance understanding of common problems, and strengthen cooperation within the region and with NATO. “It should certainly be repeated”, he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Ngarhorim Luweh-Adou, from Chad, expressed his satisfaction with the academic content of the Course: “I am honoured to attend the seminar. I wanted to know more about the geopolitical order and the multipolar world and the seminar has helped me understand the world much better.” One of the participants from Niger observed that the seminar had given him valuable insights into NATO and its partnerships, such as the Mediterranean Dialogue.

During the seminar, Lieutenant General Rittimann and Brigadier General Vall signed a letter of cooperation, cementing the ties between the two institutes. The document confirms the continuation of the annual GFOAC-P Sahel and describes potential other activities with a view to supporting the G5SDC as it grows into a leading educational institute in West Africa. During their closing remarks, both Commandants emphasised that this edition, with official representatives from other G5S countries and NATO Partner nations in attendance, provided a solid foundation on which to widen the network of participants from the region.

NDC Public Affairs Office