In a rapidly changing global order and with continuing threats to Africa’s security, the African Union (AU) must strengthen ties with multilateral bodies and governments outside the continent. So far, it has partnered with its traditional partners – the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the United States (US) and China.
The United Nations and the European Union are the largest partners of the African bloc, and the European Union is the largest contributor to the AU’s budget. Funding is a major issue shaping the continental body’s external relations and often results in cooperation driven by the priorities of partners vis-a-vis Africa. The AU relies heavily on partners to finance its activities, with two-thirds of its 2023 budget coming from external sources.
The AU–EU relationship is formalized through summits and regular official interactions. their respective security arms exchange information and operate a joint field the missions, Cooperation between the AU and the UN is governed by the 2017 Peace and Security framework and the 2018 Joint Framework for the Implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063. Annual AU-UN conferences are also held.
These interactions help the parties to pool resources, improve coordination, and undertake joint assessment missions. Common positions have been agreed upon on pressing security challenges, including the use of Sanctions in conflict situations. Attempts have also been made to align the decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). While dividends have been paid, the PSC still complains of being marginalized in the UNSC.
The AU has longstanding ties with the US on issues of security, governance, economic development and climate. The US recently supported AU efforts to resolve the Ethiopian war and supported the delicate Sudan and Chad transitions. Inaugurated Democracy meeting In 2021, 16 AU states commit to promoting democratic initiatives.
China’s cooperation with the AU on security has sent troops to peacekeeping missions in more than a dozen African countries. China also provides technical assistance, capacity building, technology and equipment to help the African Union combat piracy, terrorism and other threats. exchanges On maritime security, logistics support, military education, training and medicine are noteworthy.
A major challenge to productive participation is the AU’s continued over-reliance on funds from the EU and elsewhere. This has created a gap in the prioritization and ownership of Africa’s peace and security agenda.
In 2016, the AU established a peace Fund To provide predictable funding and increase your financial autonomy. But the target of funding 25 per cent of Africa’s security activities has not been met. To date, states have contributed only $60 million against the targeted $400 million. Added to this is the long-standing problem of how the UN can better contribute to AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs).
AU funding status means that the interests of international partners often drive the partnership. The European Peace Facility, for example, allows directly Grant for a wide range of continental peace support tasks, even those not authorized by the PSC. These include the African Military Alliance, national armies such as those of Nigeria and Mali, and the armies and navies of the coastal states of the Gulf of Guinea. This breaks the norm of channeling funds through the AU – a move that could prove counterproductive.
The AU-US partnership appears to be driven primarily by geopolitical competition. new us strategy Promotes transparency and accountability for Africa, strengthens democracy and reduces regional instability. It focuses on post-pandemic recovery, economic opportunities and the climate crisis – but also aims to counter the growing influence of China and Russia in Africa.
The AU lacks a coherent strategy to engage partners. For example, its relations with Japan have no clear focus on security. Japan has supported the strengthening of PSC-UNSC relations, democracy and issues related to women, youth and children in armed conflict. but its triennial Tokyo International Conference on African Development Concentrate Mainly on Africa’s development agenda.
AU needs to focus not only on the quantity but also on the quality of its partnerships. To reap greater security dividends, it must tackle the perennial challenges that undermine its external cooperation. A concrete strategy for AU interaction is critical for finalizing the Draft Partnership Policy Framework by the February 2023 deadline.
There is a need to enhance AU capability to plan and manage peace support operations. Decisions on funding of security activities should be implemented expeditiously and the financial oversight mechanism enhanced.
The key to reducing the AU’s dependence on international partner funding is to ensure that member states pay their dues in accordance with their statutory commitments. hopefully launch The creation of a revitalized AU Peace Fund and Board of Trustees by the AU Commission Chair, announced on 5 December 2022, will spur action in the short term.
Institute for Security Studies (ISS) PSC Report Team
(this article was first published By ISS TODAY, a premium Times Syndication Partner. We have their permission to republish).
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