EU support to African capabilities

The Lisbon summit on the AU-EU strategic partnership, held in December 2007, adopted the Joint Africa-EU Strategy in which peace and security are reaffirmed as preconditions for political, economic and social development. The EU-Africa Summit, held in November 2010 in Tripoli, adopted the second Action Plan of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, which builds on the same priorities and achievements in the same eight thematic priority areas agreed in Lisbon in 2007. The Peace and Security partnership is one of the eight strategic partnerships that tie the two continents together, and cooperation in this area should therefore continue to deepen and improve in order for Africa to have autonomous capacity for maintaining a favorable environment for development.

The partnership on peace and security pursues three specific objectives:

  • Enhancing the political dialogue on peace and security;
  • Operationalizing the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), and;
  • Ensuring predictable funding for African-led peace support operations.

The key EU financial instrument to support the Peace and Security partnership is the African Peace Facility (APF). Through this instrument, in coordination with others such as the Regional Indicative Programmes of the EDF, the Instrument for Stability or the Common Security and Defence Policy, the EU places itself at the forefront of the international support to the African Peace and Security Agenda. More concretely, EU efforts consist in providing political backing as well as predictable resources to African Peace Support Operations (PSOs), capacity-building activities as well as mediation activities at both continental and regional levels. Since 2004, the EU has committed more than € 1.1 billion through the African Peace Facility for Africa-led peace support operations and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture.

The EU supports the African Peace & Security Architecture (APSA) to enhance continental and regional capabilities for the prevention, management and resolution of conflict.

The APSA was established by the AU and African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as a structural, long-term response to the peace and security challenges on the African continent. It is meant to be the continent’s overarching security architecture to prevent, manage and resolve eventual military conflicts.

Currently several EU-funded capacity building programmes aim at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the African Union and of other African regional organizations in this context.

A number of these programmes currently being implemented focus on the main APSA elements such as the operationalization of the African Stand-by Force and the setting up of the Continental Early Warning System (link to the page of the AU on Continental Early System).

The Africa Standby Force (ASF) is envisaged to be a multidisciplinary force composed of military, civilian and police components. In total, five brigade-size standby forces will be regionally put in place in view of possible rapid deployment in crisis situations. The troop contributing countries will be responsible for basic training while regional economic communities and mechanisms are to ensure the regional coordination of activities and training. The AUC is responsible for providing overall guidelines for training, developing standing operating procedures and certifying the forces. The ASF has been scheduled to become fully operational by 2015 but this deadline may have to be reviewed.

The European Union’s ‘African Peace and Security Architecture’ programme supports the building of capacity inter alia towards the operationalisation of the ASF. Furthermore, the European Union’s ‘African Training Centres in Peace and Security’ programme supports the development of training capacity and policy for the ASF. On the top of this, the EU provides assistance to AMANI AFRICA II, a training and exercise cycle on the strategic-level decision-making, management and deployment of the ASF. Support to activities dealing with strategic lift, communications and logistics is also envisaged which would respond to the long-term need to build a range of sustainable capabilities for the ASF. In this context, the EU is currently supporting an assessment of the progress towards operational readiness of the ASF.

Also, the EU is partnering with African stakeholders to enhance liaison and dialogue between the AU and the RECs having a mandate in peace and security.

Based on lessons learned, the EU committed €12.5 million in December 2013 through the African Peace Facility to improve the "Command, Control, Communication and Information System" (C3IS) used in African-led peace support operations. The C3IS will provide secure data, voice and video services through satellite communication between the African Union, the sub-regional organisations and the peace missions deployed at country level. It will also provide IT systems to convey orders, generate reports and maps for the management of the operations on the ground. This way, the new EU funds will contribute to better equipping African regional organisations in the area of peace and security.