EU approves €5.2 million to support the African Standby Force
The EU has adopted a decision to provide €5.2 million to the African Union Commission (AUC) to support the establishment of the African Standby Force. The military force will help Africa to overcome the challenges in the field of peace and security.
The EU funding is intended for an exercise cycle called “AMANI AFRICA II.” According to the Commission, AMANI AFRICA II plays an essential role in testing the continent’s progress towards operationalising the blueprint for the Africa Standby Force. The overall objective of AMANI AFRICA II, as endorsed by the 18th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa in January 2012, is to: “to validate the capacity of the African Union to mandate and employ a Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC) of the African Standby Force (ASF) as a start-up operation (Scenario 6) and to run a follow on full multidimensional peace support operation (Scenario 5)”
The African Standby military force will be formed by civilian and police representatives and will act as permanent peace enforcement and keeping capability across Africa, under the direction of the African Union. The regional standby force is part of the AU Peace and Security design that seek to set up about 30,000 troops, ready to be called upon from contributing countries at a short notice to intervene in cases of conflict on the continent. The military and police components will focus on combat and other such briefs, while the civilian component will seek to ensure respect for human rights during intervention, ensure safety of the displaced, initiate political dialogue with the objective of a ceasefire, and monitor disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration.
The EU support for the planning and the organisation of the African Standby Force exercise will cover expenses relating to programme’s human resources, travel and transportation, logistics and supplies of the final exercise headquarters in Lesotho, as well as organising workshops.
Despite the EU approval, Guardian Nigeria reported that the African Stand By Force, may stall due to lack of funding. On 22 August, the Head of African Union (AU) team to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari commented on the situation:
“There are challenges. One of the critical challenges is funding. Not just funding, as the operation is ongoing, but how to sustain it or even funding ahead of it. And these are challenges that the African Union and the economic community have to face.”