Held in the West African city of Cotonou, in the Republic of Benin, the 10th summit of the Community of Sahelo-Saharan states, known as CEN-SAD, was preceded by a round table food summit attended by the 28 Heads of State and governments that make up the organisation. The summit addressed the current acute crisis and the repercussions on the economies of CEN-SAD countries and their populations, particularly on the most vulnerable rural populations, women and children. The recommendations from the Cotonou meeting concentrated on the development of initiatives at national and regional level to increase the agricultural performance and productivity in member countries.
With so many Heads of State and Prime Ministers attending, safety and security were of the highest importance for the Benin Government. Following an initial meeting in late 2007 at the Milipol exhibition in Paris, Winkelmann UK, the specialist UK manufacturer of counter-surveillance and anti-terrorist equipment, supplied a number of HAWK XDi Electronic Device Detectors for use by the security forces. The HAWK XDi uses advanced techniques, technology and embedded intelligence to detect mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and counter terrorist applications. It detects explosive devices containing electronic components such as remote control receivers, mobile phones, electronic timers, clocks, transceivers, electronic fuses and delayed-action units, whether they are powered or unpowered at the time of the sweep.
Any potential threat to the Benin summit was seen to be from dissident groups and terrorist organizations; as the result of the vigilance and professionalism of the Benin security forces and the high technology equipment supplied by Winkelmann, the three-day event was successfully concluded without a security alert of any sort.