Amidst almost perpetual darkness, there remain glimmers of hope in the #BringBackOurGirls movement.

Indeed it was but a few weeks ago (and reports are only coming out now) that photos from US reconnaissance planes flying over Nigeria surveyed and revealed large groups of girls in remote yet strategically organized locations—raising hopes that they may be some of the two-hundred-plus pupils abducted in April.

It has been reported widely that American officials running now-routine surveillance flights over northeastern Nigeria spotted a group of 60-70 girls being held in a remote field. And late last month, a second flight spotted a group of 40 girls in a different location, however a similar scenario.

Tragically, albeit unsurprisingly, the locations were abandoned by the time aircraft were able to return to confirm the sightings, according to official statements.

Although the en masse abduction from Chibok was anything but commonplace, the kidnapping, detainment and often trafficking of women and girls is an unfortunate reality, an illegal commercial enterprise in even the most ‘emergent‘ of states. However, the defensive capability of governments to check this brutality and violence like it, found in many of those states and here with specific regard to ‘rising’ Africa, is categorically abysmal.

There are many reasons why the aircraft could not be Nigerian aircraft flying surveillance over Borno State, a known hotbed of the militant insurgency Boko Haram. There are also explanations as to why radical fundamentalist regimes host armories in Mali, Cameroon and Somalia, each matching those of the governments they look to challenge, to destabilize or overthrow.

One can point to the often-unfortunate realities of internal bureaucratic corruption purportedly squandering resources once sought to be relegated toward equipping those who so choose to protect their nation’s territorial integrity. However, this is a global phenomenon, not endemically African.

I contend that we must also take a holistic view at the venerable international establishments that have chosen to neglect Africa by not refreshing their understanding state by state and aiming to trust those developing governments presently unable to craft tangible security infrastructures of their own and comparatively due to such distrust, defend their citizenries.

For the arduous security challenges we collectively face are systemic in part due to outdated, binding restrictions having been imposed on Africa’s capacity to protect itself.

I participated at the US-Africa Business Summit in Washington, DC with high hopes earlier this August, optimistic that the insecurity created by misguided forces in Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, or by the Shebab in Somalia and insurgent movements spreading through Kenya for that matter, would be too overwhelming to ignore. Perhaps security would be pushed to the forefront of the Summit’s agenda and that of the Obama administration and encourage from it newfound public and private sector cooperation to tackle, at the very least reactively, shared, truly globalizing threats.

And though I am aware there is a reluctance abroad to increase military support for many diverse yet beleaguered African governments, I was disappointed that President Obama’s objective for the Summit, in-part to work with “strong partners” that have “pretty effective security forces” resonated abroad at its conclusion as the window-dressing that many fear it was designed to be; a ‘nod’ to a continent deprioritized in a period of ‘reset’ buttons and ‘pivots’ to contain what were perceived to be greater geopolitical rivals.

Conversely, it is absolutely true that the US is providing logistical, training, and intelligence assistance to those African troops fighting in Somalia and Nigeria. And yet another glimmer of tangible hope arrived in the agreement on the creation of an African rapid response military force with the assistance of the US through its AFRICOM Command Center. This development was received as a welcome indicator of potential for dynamism in what is a complex, multilateral security relationship. It is the type of development the Obama administration would like “to build on”, according to statements from Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

However, if the United States truly hopes to have lasting impact on the continent (economically or otherwise, as compared to that of China or Brazil) it will have to, as Mr. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Director of the Africa Growth Initiative suggests, include concrete strategies and plans to institutionalize future summits so that they are a credible facet of US foreign policy. Moreover, the US should embrace innovation (a tenet which has helped make Africa the rising collective power as it exists today) and further, embrace change in the institutions that consider certain current partners ‘pariah’ states and modern-day governments aiming to defend themselves ‘untrustworthy.’

Further, western bodies should not simply pivot toward intrepid opportunities in Africa and assist as global stewards in defending our assets, including the bevy of human capital, from the ever-networking forces that would do us harm (as witnessed in the bombings in Uganda’s capital in 2010 and gun attacks in Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre last year); they should reevaluate supporting institutional initiatives such as that under the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one which controversially would perpetuate unabated violence and conflict in Africa as it deters African governments from creating deterrence of their own; discouraging the creation of a strong domestic security capability.

Last week, we launched the Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft. The AHRLAC, a global first, addresses a key industry need by performing the combined tasks that previously required four separately configured planes. It integrates models from attack helicopters, surveillance platforms and reconnaissance aircraft with the ability to carry surveillance, weapons, radar and electronic warfare systems.

Borne in South Africa but with application in conditions harsh or fair across the globe, AHRLAC brings with its launch advanced operational solutions, those that would historically require more costly aircraft or complex, unmanned aerial surveillance systems. It can stay in the air for more than seven hours, making it ideal for patrolling large land areas, borders and oceans. And it is but an example, proof positive that modern Africa is wholly equipped to defend its borders and ensure the safety of the vibrant cultures and entrepreneurial spirit it plays host to, men and women that have guided the continent toward prosperity on the world stage.

Africa does not need pleasantries or handouts. We are looking for solutions, innovative results to pragmatically counter inventive threats. We need an accountable agenda for international partnership, one of mutual trust and the understanding that we cannot wait idly by while our partners and their children are threatened by guerilla forces with the potential to further destabilize.

We need an action plan for our mutual benefit, one to counter those that look to hinder our shared trajectory in trade and global socioeconomics.

At close of the US-Africa Summit, we must jointly believe that there is simply no time to lose.