The African Union (AU) plans to operationalise its Peace Fund to the tune of over $320 million a year through a levy on what it terms “eligible imports” to fund its peace and security operations on the continent.
The move has been welcomed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who said it was part of steps toward self-reliance being undertaken by the continental body, particularly as far as its peace and security budget was concerned.
Outgoing AU Commission chair, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed what has been called “a ground-breaking decision” by the AU Assembly to institute the 0.2% levy.
Indications are the levy will generate $65 million by each of the continent’s five regions per year until 2020 when it is seen to increase to $80 million per region.
“This,” an AU statement said, “is in fulfilment of the commitment by the Heads of State and Government, made in 2015, to finance 25% of the cost of AU peace support operations”.
The funding will support the AU’s five peace and security programmes. These are the African Standby Force (ASF), Panel of the Wise, Continental Early Warning Systems (CEWS), Capacity Building and Conflict Prevention.
An indication of the cost of peace support operations in Africa comes from the Africa-EU Partnership which points out the European body has supported AMISOM (the AU Mission in Somalia) since it was established in 2007. Contributions from the EU have amounted to more than 575 million euros (about $523 million) over this period covering troop allowances, the cost of the police component of the mission, salaries for international and local civilian staff and the operational costs of the AMISOM office in Nairobi.
The partnership also sees EU funding going to the AU Regional Co-operation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army. This has seen almost two million euros (about $1.6 million) paid to the initiative between January 2013 and May 2014.
In addition to the Peace Fund, the AU Heads of State and Government also endorsed three windows to it at the recent AU Summit in Kigali. They are preventive diplomacy and mediation, institutional capacity and peace support operations.
Non-financial aspects, including seeking funding from UN assessed contributions for the remaining 75% cost of peace support operations were also approved at the summit.