The African Union admitted it’s having difficulties in raising funds for a ready force to deal with emerging local security conflicts.
A session of the African Union Peace and Security Council earlier this month agreed to continue pooling resources for the African Standby Force that was mooted 20 years ago but the policy slowly ran into AU’s own red tape.
To pool troops that would be on standby to intervene in local security situations, the bloc decided to work with regional blocs such as the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC).
As part of the “broader AU strategy for the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF)”, the continental bloc also established the Continental Logistics Base in Doula, Cameroon.
The mandate of the Standby Force formed under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), was intended to create a pool of troops to enable the continent deal with emerging conflicts or unconstitutional changes in government.
In addition, the force was to complement the council, an early warning system, as well as a panel of eminent personalities seen as mediators.
Although the actual specialised counter-terrorism units have yet to be created, the AU also updated the mandate of the Force to include fighting violent extremism.
On Friday, the council in a communique marking its 1,007th meeting held 10 days earlier asked AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat to finalise the structure and financing model, especially for the logistics base with the apparent low contribution from member states.
“[The council] calls upon the AU Commission to finalise and submit the 2021 – 2026 Comprehensive Roadmap on the Enhancement of the ASF, including for establishment of the special unit for combatting terrorism and violent extremism, with clearly defined timelines to the 2021 Specialised Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security (STCDSS) meeting and to this Council in the last quarter of 2021,” the council said.
“The council expresses concern over the low level of support to the continued operationalisation of the ASF due to lack of resources, including predictable and sustainable funding,” it said in a dispatch on Friday.