The United States and Morocco's "African Lion 2023" military exercises, which kicked off on Monday, will cover "almost two-thirds" of the African continent this year, said Brigadier General Brian Cashman, deputy commanding general of the US Army's Southern European Force-Africa, on Monday.
During the kick-off ceremony for this year's edition, the US military official assured that the contribution of African countries had increased with the inclusion of Tunisia, Ghana and Senegal, and recalled that the "African Lion" is "one of the largest military exercises in the world".
In this 19th edition, Cashman explained, almost 4,000 US military personnel are taking part, along with another 4,000 from other participating countries, representatives of armies from 18 countries in Africa, Europe and South America, and military observers from 20 countries.
"The scale of participation is quite remarkable. It is testament to the significant value of this training, as proof of the growing strength of our partners," he said, adding that the aim of the exercises is to "strengthen interoperability and our ability to deal with transnational threats".
"There are more than two dozen armed conflicts in Africa right now. In West Africa we see the rapid spread of violent extremism and there are also multiple peace and humanitarian missions on the continent that need well-trained forces," he explained.
He said that Morocco's commitment to participate in the organisation of these manoeuvres, the largest in Africa and scheduled to close on the 16th of this month, is "proof of the strength of our alliance".
On the other hand, the Inspector General of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, Mohamed Berrid, pointed out that the training planned for this year coincides with a geopolitical and geostrategic context of crisis.
According to Berrid, this situation makes it necessary to test the ability of our forces to better understand conventional, hybrid and asymmetric challenges.
The "African Lion" manoeuvres are, according to experts, a demonstration of the strength of military cooperation between the United States and Morocco, which in recent years has adopted a roadmap for modernising its army's equipment, with France and the United States as the main suppliers.