The AU will not finance security operations from a new fund until 2023 because it received fewer contributions than hoped.
The AU, which groups 55 African countries, hoped to start tapping the fund this year for peacekeeping missions, mediation and conflict prevention on a continent facing threats of violence and terrorism.
At the end of a summit in Addis Ababa, it decided not to use the fund after it emerged it had less than half of the $400 million targeted.
The failure to secure sufficient funding is a setback to security hopes in Africa following an increase in attacks by Islamist militants in the Sahel region.
It also follows a drawdown of AU peacekeepers in Somalia as external donors reduce funding, transferring responsibility to Somali forces.
AU nations so far raised $164 million, said Donald Kaberuka, AU special envoy for the fund.
Fewer than 30 member states paid full contributions and five never paid annual dues, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.
North African states, including Egypt and Algeria, are challenging annual contributions and want Central African states such as Cameroon and Central African Republic t
o pay more, AU officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Kaberuka said the decision on how much each country would pay was postponed until later this year.
“Most countries agree about the financing mechanism,” he said, adding “for those who disagree we have until July 2020 to find a solution.”
FURTHER DELAYS AHEAD?
Prolonged disagreements on how much each member state provides could cause further delays for the fund.
“The AU is trying to be more self-sufficient, less reliant on donors,” said Elissa Jobson, Director of Africa Regional Advocacy for the International Crisis Group think tank. “This delays that process.”
A senior AU official told reporters the threat posed to Africa by violence and terrorism and governments’ inadequate resources to tackle them, means more international support is needed.
“We still need the UN Security Council to take its responsibilities and the international community not to let down Africa,” said Smail Chergui, commissioner of the AU’s Peace and Security Council.
He said poor nations such as Chad and Niger were cutting spending on health and education to ramp up security which is “morally unacceptable”.