Ghana has launched the African Centre for Science and International Security (AFRICIS) to ensure nuclear safety and security in Africa.
This science-based non-profit organisation is hosted by the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), which has signed a collaborative agreement to jointly run the activities of the AFRICIS in the country.
Dr Musheibu Mohammed Alfa, (Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation) stated that the partnership would ensure the promotion of peaceful applications of nuclear energy for national development.
He added that the Centre, which was the first of its kind to be established in Africa, envisions a safer, more secure and more stable continent. Thus, obtaining maximum benefits from the dual-use of science and technology in fields including nuclear energy and space systems. He further stated that Ghana was proud to host a facility such as AFRICIS after being recognised by the international community for its positive credentials – in areas such as non-proliferation, transparency in running nuclear activities and programme, political stability, availability of nuclear expects and students in nuclear science.
The Centre, he noted, would address issues such as detecting and dealing with hazardous threats, protecting civilians and non-civilians alike from weapons and dangerous CRBN substances and equipment through education, science and technology.
“Today, with the increasing firepower of ever-more sophisticated criminal and terrorist organizations such as those attempting to smuggle illegal weapons or contraband through the boarder at ports, airports and by land, means that African countries’ law enforcement officers will have also had to adapt to protect themselves and keep its nations out of harm’s way”– he said.
The AFRICIS is expected to work with governments, institutions and organisations to promote ideas and actions that enhance access to space application tools, sustainable development, space safety and security. The Centre is set to develop cutting-edge solutions to address major hazardous substance accidents, natural disasters and terrorism risks.
The Centre’s focus would also be directed towards providing the following: objective research, policy-oriented technical training, evidence-based analysis and practical policy recommendations. All of which are essential to devising innovative and effective solutions for national and international security issues.
Dr Alfa noted that by signing on to several international Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) treaties, African nations including Ghana, were contributing to achieving sustainable international peace, security and development.