On 30 November 2017, on the sidelines of the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, the Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire and France officially announced that they wished to create a regional counter-terrorism centre in order to respond to the desire of many African countries to develop and share counter-terrorism capabilities.
This resulted in the International Counter-Terrorism Academy (AILCT), which was launched during a groundbreaking ceremony by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Hamed Bakayoko, the Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Defence, in October 2018. This academy has a fully integrated vision within an interministerial approach.
Located near Abidjan, it takes advantage of the facilities and infrastructure available in Côte d’Ivoire’s capital. It will be built around three complementary pillars:
- A staff college for high-level counter-terrorism stakeholders from various justice, interior and armed forces ministries.
The goal is to address all aspects of counter-terrorism, from intelligence to the work of special forces to legal proceedings. Training programmes, which are for staff from various backgrounds, will encourage exchanges of best practices, mutual understanding among stakeholders and the development of local and regional synergies, which are conducive to interoperable modes of action.
- A training camp with specific facilities (firing infrastructures, a range of urban, maritime, lagoon and 3D environments, etc.) approved by French elite units (Special Operations Command and the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group – GIGN and RAID). The units using the facilities will be able to train and learn in optimal conditions.
- A strategic research institute to share doctrines, analyse threats, and allow partners to share lessons learned.
Not only does the AILCT benefit from the expertise of the Côte d’Ivoire justice and interior ministries, it also has permanent French officials. In addition, training modules will be taught by instructors from France or other contributing countries.
To tackle the major security challenges posed by the terrorist threat in both Africa and Europe, as of 2019, the International Counter-Terrorism Academy (AILCT) seeks to bring together the various specialized services to mount a global response along with African partners.