Peace and security

Peace and security


Under the Africa-EU partnership, the strategic objective on peace and security is to ensure a peaceful, safe, secure environment, contributing to human security and reducing fragility, foster political stability and effective governance, and to enable sustainable and inclusive growth.

The key EU financial instrument to support cooperation with Africa in the area of Peace and Security is the African Peace Facility (APF).

Key areas of cooperation and specific objectives include:

  • Enhancing political dialogue on peace, justice, and reconciliation to implement common approaches to the peace and security challenges in Africa;
  • Strengthening the operationalization of the AU's capacities: the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) by training African forces, strengthening AU institutions and improving coordination with Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms;
  • Increasing cooperation on addressing root causes of conflicts: terrorism, and transnational crime: trafficking humans and arms;
  • Tackling maritime security threats: fighting maritime piracy, and waste dumping;
  • Consolidating the human rights dimension in peace and security in crisis management;
  • Improving the mobilization of AU resources to support the EU's APF instrument.

The successes and challenges of APF


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Selected activities and achievements

African-led PSOs

The PSOs are aimed at providing public security through a range of military and civilian tasks, including peacekeeping, maintenance of public order, policing, infrastructure reconstruction, political dialogue and national reconciliation.

Several African-led initiatives have been deployed since 2004, often in a very hostile environment and in a sensitive political context. So far, the EU has allocated more than EUR 1.7 billion for PSOs, which therefore represent the main area of commitment within the APF.


Since February 2007, following years of political instability and recurring conflicts, the United Nations Security Council authorised the African Union to deploy the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in order to promote long-term peace, security and effective governance in Somalia. Since then, AMISOM has contributed to significant political and military accomplishments, including the establishment of new Federal Institutions in August/September 2012, the adoption of a new Provisional Constitution and military achievements against Al-Shabaab militants.

The EU considers that AMISOM remains an essential provider of security in Somalia which is critical for the continuation of the political process and that financial support remains vital for AMISOM to fulfil its mandate. Overall, AMISOM is financed by a broad set of donors, including the EU, the UN, and through financial and in-kind contributions provided bilaterally to the AU or directly to the AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries, in particular by the United States. Since 2007, the EU has provided a total amount of more than EUR 1 billion to the AU for AMISOM (including EUR 285.5 million in 2015) making the EU one of AMISOM’s biggest donors. EU funds are used to cover the following main elements of AMISOM’s budget: allowances for AMISOM troops; salaries and allowances for the police component of the mission; international and local civilian staff salaries; as well as operational costs of the mission’s offices in Nairobi/ Mogadishu and the AMISOM Al Jazeera Training Camp.

The APF’s financial support to AMISOM is an integral part of the EU’s comprehensive and long-term approach to support security and development efforts in Somalia. This approach contains political, diplomatic, civilian, military, humanitarian, and development dimensions and also includes three EU military missions, in the framework of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy - the EU Naval Force Operation ATALANTA, the EU military training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) and the EU civilian maritime security capacity building mission(EUCAP Nestor).

In 2015, AMISOM has continued to provide the security umbrella needed to further the political process in Somalia and there has been progress, in particular in the area of regional state-building. However, political progress is still hampered by recurrent internal crisis. This contributes to an environment in which the security situation remains very volatile. Al-Shabaab is adapting to the AMISOM offensive and continues to use asymmetric tactics undermining the Federal Government of Somalia. Armed attacks against AMISOM, the Somali National Army and increasingly against civilian targets, take place frequently in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

ECOWAS Mission to Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB)

Following the military coup on 12 April 2012 in Guinea Bissau, the Heads of State and Government who met at the Extraordinary Summit held in Abidjan on 26 April 2012 decided the immediate deployment of an ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB), a composite military and police force of 689 personnel. The mission was deployed to facilitate the withdrawal of the Angola Technical and Military Assistance Mission in Guinea Bissau (MISSANG), provide security to the Transitional Government and People of Guinea Bissau, assist in the effective implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform Program (DSSRP) and provide security for fresh elections and a return to democratic rule.

Since 15 July 2015, the African Peace Facility has contributed to ECOMIB via ECOWAS for an initial period of 7 months which then were extended until the 30th June 2016 in line with the ECOMIB mandate extension.

During the 49th Heads of State ECOWAS Summit held on 4th June 2016 in Dakar, the ECOMIB mandate was further extended for one year until 30th June 2017, in view of the persisting crisis and instability. As a consequence the APF will continue its support to accompany the mandate extension.

The main activities will include: military and police Patrol all over the country & discussions with populations to address security challenges, secure the Presidency & Prime Minister’s Offices and houses, provide military escort to VIPs, secure the Electoral National Commission’s office, provide health care assistance to the population, initiate the demobilization, reconversion and socio-economic reintegration of the security forces and develop a training plan for Military and Police. The force is made up of around 600 soldiers from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria and Togo.

The Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram

The EU Council of 9 February 2015 concluded that the increasing regionalisation of the Boko Haram (BH) threat required a collective and comprehensive response to defeat terrorism in full respect of human rights. The African Union (AU) on 3 March 2015 mandated the force to "create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups". On 28 July 2015 a UN Security Council Presidential Statement called upon the international community and donors to support the MNJTF.

The APF contribution to MNJTF will help in restoring a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups by addressing the lack of sufficient coordination of military operations among affected countries. By providing key infrastructure and transport and communication assets to MNJTF headquarters and by supporting the deployment of key headquarters (HQ) staff, the action will put the MNJTF central command in a position to coordinate operations among troop contributing countries (TCCs) in their respective territories. This should in turn prevent BH to continue to take advantage of its ability to move across borders when fighting uncoordinated bilateral operations by any of the TCCs.

The APF support amounts to EUR 50 million and will be implemented in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with the African Union Commission (AUC) for a period of 19 months starting on 1st July 2016.

The Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) represents a destabilising factor in the Central African sub-region affecting detrimentally security and human rights. In 2005, the LRA leaders were the first individuals indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In response to continuing attacks carried out by the LRA, the AUC established the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA) with the mandate to defeat the LRA in the border region of Uganda, the CAR, the DRC and South Sudan.

The RCI-LRA has proven instrumental in the fight against the LRA. It comprises a Joint Coordination Mechanism (JCM), chaired by the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and composed of the ministers of defence of the affected countries (Uganda, the DRC, South Sudan and the CAR), a JCM secretariat headed by an AU Special Envoy as well as a Regional Task Force (RTF) composed of troops from the affected countries. The JCM coordinates the initiative at a strategic level. The RTF is tasked to search and engage the LRA bases and combatants. The RTF HQ in Yambio (South Sudan) coordinates information sharing and operations between the three sector HQs located in Nzana (South Sudan), Obo (CAR) and Dungu (DRC).

In a decision adopted on 18 May 2015, the AU Peace and Security Council extended the mandate of the RCI-LRA for a further twelve months. The Council, while welcoming progress made in the fight against the LRA, expressed concern that the LRA continued to operate in CAR and DRC, abducting, raping, killing civilians and causing the displacement of persons. The AU PSC expressed its appreciation to the EU for its financial support to the AU-RTF. 

The committed EUR 2.9 million envelope of the APF for the 2013-2016 period covered the operational costs of the JCM Secretariat, the organisation of various international meetings and conferences, as well as staff allowances, communication equipment and operational costs for the RTF HQ in Yambio.

In terms of results achieved, this contribution has enabled the smooth and continuous running of the RCI-LRA structures and operations.

The LRA still manages to carry out sporadic attacks and its leader Joseph Kony remains in place. However, the insurgency has been weakened by the coordinated efforts of affected countries. It is worth noting that one of Kony’s lieutenants, Dominic Ongwen, surrendered in January 2015 and is currently being tried in The Hague. Discussions with the African Union are ongoing for the EU to keep on supporting the RCI-LRA. This is meant to cover the same costs and activities over a new period with the aim of strengthening already obtained results and moving towards the full defeat of the LRA.

Capacity Building

Capacity Building has become a major component of the APF since the Facility’s establishment. The objective of this component is to increase the capacity of the AU and the RECs/RMs in the area of peace and security. The increased capacity should have a positive knock-on effect for facilitating the planning and conduct of PSOs as well as the operationalization of the APSA.

A number of support programmes have been rolled out to give the AU and the RECs/RMs the necessary instruments to address security challenges through effective and efficient institutions. In the area of Capacity Building, the APF’s most important individual contribution are the successive APSA Support Programmes.

The APSA Support Programme

The APSA Support programme aims at strengthening the capacity and efficiency of the AUC, RECs and RMs to prevent and/or respond to crises/conflicts in Africa by implementing and operationalising the APSA.

The Continental Early Warning System and regional Early Warning Systems have continued to work on ensuring synergies and interconnectivity, thereby also paving the way for common skills and methodologies on conflict analysis to be elaborated. This is also expected to better inform relevant decision-makers within AU and RECs/RMs.

Ensuring coherence and complementarities between continental and regional peace and security activities remains a challenge. Clarity on the definition of subsidiarity and how it should be implemented by both AU and RECs/RMs is certainly an area which would benefit from further efforts in the cooperation between relevant organisations.

In 2015, a bridging contract of EUR 5.2 million has been established with the AUC to ensure continuity of the activities between August 2015 and the beginning of the next APSA Support Programme as of 1st January 2016. The design of this new APSA Support Programme III has been based on the 2016-2020 APSA Roadmap, as endorsed by the African Senior Officials in their meeting of November 2015. The soon-to-be-signed contract for the APSA Support Programme III, which covers the period 2016-2018, will financially contribute to the APSA operationalization for an amount of EUR 28.77 million. The activities supported by this programme are designed to be fully in line with the five strategic priorities identified in the APSA Roadmap: conflict prevention, crisis and conflict management (including mediation and the African Standby Force), post-conflict reconstruction and peace building, strategic security issues, coordination and partnerships.

Command, Control, Communication and Information System (C3IS) to support African-led peace support operations

In 2013, the AU and EU agreed on the need to constitute a technical working group to plan for the establishment of a C3IS for African-led PSOs. In addition, in 2013 the Mali crisis highlighted the challenge or capacity gap preventing Africa to play a more effective role on the ground and assert its leadership immediately. The same year, the AU and the EU signed an agreement whereby the APF would provide EUR 12.5 million over a 40-month-period to acquire and set up the C3IS system for management of African-led PSOs.

The overall objective of the programme is to put in place a continental structure enabling the AU to rapidly deploy strategic and operational communication, command and control capabilities between the AU HQs in Addis Ababa, the regional level HQs and the mission HQs in the field. The C3IS will provide secure data, voice and video services through satellite communication between the AU, 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 managements of the operations on the ground. In 2015, the AUC launched a tender to purchase such a C3IS system and set up a technical working group in order to evaluate the different bids. The implementation period of this contract is being extended to 54 months until 31st August 2017 so as to enable the full process to be covered.

AU Liaison Offices

The programme aims at supporting the network of African Union Liaison Offices (AU LOs) in conflict and post-conflict countries in Africa. These offices are mandated by the AU Peace and Security Council to perform tasks of political engagement, representation, monitoring, reporting and facilitation of peace-building. The AU LOs are key elements in the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), ensuring AU presence in these countries and contributing to the fulfilment of its mandate relating to the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa.

With respect to political aspects, the AU LOs have continued in 2015 to play a crucial role in the efforts made by the AU concerning conflict prevention, management and resolution. They particularly pursed consultations and dialogue with relevant national parties and political actors in their host countries. Several of the mandates of the offices (Chad; Comoros; Madagascar; Misahel; CAR and Burundi) were updated by the AU PSC in order to better match the reality on the ground. This is especially relevant for the AU LO in Juba that was upgraded to an AU civilian mission.

Some offices remain better equipped (including through better human resources allocation) than others – the AUC must work to ensure all the AU LOs are in a position to be effective. Only 5 offices out of 14 have VSAT connection, which makes communications with HQ less reliable. Although operational and financial management of the programme has improved consistently over the last couple of years, there is still room for development. The EU and partners are working to support the AU in improving management standards. Despite substantial donor support, financing 100% of the AU LOs budget remained a challenge, which limited the scope of the AU LOs activities in some contexts.

AUC Salaries in Peace and Security

The programme aims at sustaining AUC personnel costs working on the implementation of Peace and Security Programmes. It therefore directly contributes to the operationalization of the APSA on the continent and ensures a closer link is maintained between continental and regional peace and security activities in Africa.

2015 has witnessed a deeper policy dialogue taking place between the AUC and its partners on their priorities and their translation in human resources planning. The EU and other partners have supported the AU PSD in the design of its restructuring plan by funding an external mapping process of the Department. This exercise fed into the more general AU Restructuring plan currently being discussed with AU Member States.

The delays in the approval of a clear and detailed AUC Restructuring plan by AU Member States continue to have an impact on how much AU PSD has been able to progress in the reinforcement of its efficiency. It is hoped that the AU Summits to be held in 2016 and 2017 will be the occasion to confirm such a decision, in order for the AUC and its Peace and Security Department to streamline its resources and reinforce the effectiveness and efficiency of its organisation.

The Early response mechanism

The Early Response Mechanism (ERM) was established in 2009 to strengthen the flexibility of the African Peace Facility (APF) in addressing urgent crises across Africa. Its purpose is to endow the AU and the RECs/RMs with a source of immediate funding for the first stages of actions aimed at the prevention, management or resolution of crises. The ERM is dedicated to cover the following three activities:

  • First stages of mediation actions, decided by the AU or by RECs within the framework of preventive diplomacy;
  • Identification and fact findings missions by the AU or by RECs to initiate the planning process for a PSO;
  • Temporary ad hoc reinforcement of the planning cell for a potential PSO.

Since its creation, the ERM has financed more than 30 interventions related to mediation, human rights, start-up of PSOs and post-conflict efforts.

The first phase of the ERM came to an end in 2015. An external evaluation concluded that it was a particularly relevant and useful mechanism (i) for the EU to mobilise immediate and adequate funding as well as (ii) for the AU and the RECs to consequently be able to directly (re)act and launch crises-related efforts of preventive and mediatory nature. Given its positive track record and taking into account these findings, the AU and the EU signed in 2015 a Delegation Agreement for the second phase of the ERM for a total amount of EUR 15 million until mid- 2018. Under the current Early Response mechanism five different initiatives have been supported. Four of them correspond to the support of mediation activities such as the ones related to the: the AU High-Representative for South Sudan and the AU High-level ad hoc Committee of Heads of State and Government on South Sudan led by former President Alpha Oumar Konaré, the Inter Burundian dialogue under the leadership of EAC via former President Mkapa and the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South South Sudan (AUHIP) led by former President Mbeki as well as the AU High Representative for Libya led by former President Kikwete. Most of these actions include activities related to the mediation and facilitation of dialogue between different parties or factions in view of establishing a political solution to a crisis and avoiding the spiral of violence.

Additionally, since 2015, the ERM is supporting the AU deployment of Human Rights observers in Burundi.


More related documents:

Commission's decision

Annex 1 - Action Document for the 2014-2016 action programme of the African Peace Facility