US-funded Military Exercise Takes Over West and North African Countries for an Entire Month – What’s Happening?!

Do you comprehend the magnitude of the event that has commenced? An exercise involving 18 countries and approximately 8,000 personnel, African Lion 2023, is underway – the largest annual combined joint exercise of US Africa Command.

The month-long military expo hosted by Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia aims to equip African armies with enhanced maritime, cyber, and biological security skills.

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This premier US military exercise, held across West and North Africa, is the centerpiece of Africom’s exercise strategy and one of the greatest US exercises across the globe! According to United States Africa Command Chief of Staff, Major-General Joel Tyler, working with allies to strengthen their defense abilities is essential, and “our collective ability to bring like-minded nations together for an exercise like this is truly impressive.”

Furthermore, the exercise explores challenges faced by African countries, especially in “maritime choke points and global shipping lanes.” Africa’s 48,000 km coastline, shared by 38 coastal states, is resource-rich and contains some of the world’s most important sea lanes, such as the Gulf of Guinea and the approaches to the Suez Canal, which together carry 13% of global trade.

However, Africa’s maritime problems include piracy, illegal fishing, pollution, kidnapping, human trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism, with an economic cost of piracy in West Africa alone estimated to be around R15.542 billion ($777.1 million) last year, according to the United Nations.

This year’s African Lion, attended by 8,000 service members, up from 7,500 last year, will also enhance armies’ capabilities in using computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.

Africom-sponsored exercises are intended to bolster partnerships between African, US, and other international militaries, increasing interoperability during crises and operations to increase security and stability in the region. The annual exercise provides unmatched opportunities for participation and cooperation on the African continent, as stated on the US Africa Command website.

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