Beyond business as usual: Igniting the AU-EU partnership on peace, security and governance

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This report is the outcome of a partnership initiative launched in 2021 by the European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) and the Africa-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS), with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Our initiative seeks to advance Africa-Europe relations in the run up to the 6th EU-AU summit in Brussels (17-18 February 2022) and contribute to effective follow-up and implementation of the decisions taken there.


Key messages

  • Africa is working to reduce its dependence on donors and enhance its role in financing its own institutions, both generally and in particular in peace and security. There is an urgent need to speed up this process. Two thirds of the budget for peace support is still funded by external partners. This risks undermining African political leadership in peace support operations.

  • More nuanced and frank political dialogue is critical. It is time to move beyond a reliance on political declarations without concrete supporting commitments and action.

  • The AU should negotiate for an oversight role in the newly created European Peace Facility (EPF), which will contribute to the financing of military peace support operations in EU partner countries. Though the EPF is global in scope it is expected to focus on Africa. Moreover, it will replace the African Peace Facility (APF), bringing the risk of bypassing the AU Peace and Security Architecture. This would undermine AU ownership of conflict prevention, dialogue, negotiation and mediation efforts on the continent. 

  • Governance should be understood as more than just political governance and the pursuit of democratic ideals, to include factors affecting socio-economic well-being, such as effective management of public affairs and strengthening of the rule of law.

  • Capable African institutions with peer pressure mechanisms in place and locally embedded civil society initiatives will be more effective in ensuring domestic accountability over externally driven donor accountability. 

Read the full paper here.

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Author: Bernardo Venturi (IAI)

Acknowledgements: The author wishes to thank Ottilia Maunganidze (ISS), Jide Okeke (UNDP), Geert Laporte (ETTG), Daniele Fattibene (ETTG), Lidet Tadesse Shiferaw (ECDPM) and Ueli Staeger (University of Geneva) for their kind support in the revision of this report. 

This report is part of a special series on Africa-EU relations in the run-up and follow-up of the 2022 AU-EU summit, produced by ETTG members in cooperation with the Institute for Security Studies (ISS Africa) and with the support of UNDP Africa.

Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash.

The views are those of the author and not necessarily those of ETTG.

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