Launch of Africa Peace FundThe African Union has launched a new peace fund plan that expected to reach $400 million by the year 2021, and possibly end decades of Africa’s dependence on external sources to maintain its own peace and security.
The fund fast-tracking was launched at the 11th Extraordinary AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia focusing on the institutional reform of the union.
It was approved in January this year by Africa’s ministers of defense.
The launch event was officiated by the AU chairman and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame who said that promoting peace and security is one of the core functions of the Union.
“We depended too extensively on external resources. This is why the Assembly decided in 2015 to finance 25% of the African Union’s peace and security activities,” Kagame said.
To date Africa Member States contributions stand at $60.5 million dollars, the highest level since the Fund’s creation in 1993, against the AU target of silencing the guns by 2020.
Kagame also said that the money available will be able to finance all of the preventative diplomacy and mediation work of the African Union’s Special Envoys and High Representatives as well as the Liaison Offices.
Kagame, who believes and has personally committed to deploy Rwandan forces in peace efforts, said that when the endowment reaches its full strength, Africa will be in a strong position to drive the continent’s peace and security agenda toward the most appropriate solution.
Rwanda is among the top five UN troop and police contributing countries in international peacekeeping missions.
The launch was followed by panel discussion on predictable and sustainable financing for peace and security in Africa.
The panel featured former Africa development bank president Dr. Donald Kaberuka, former Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South African and Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Hannah Teteh- former Ghanian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
While Africa still faces pockets of instability in countries like Mali, Central Africa Republic (CAR), the panelists said that collecting the money from member states is necessary and timely to see concrete change of situation.
“The fund will help us to silence those guns and this cannot happen without this money. In practice if you say you support it please pay,” Mbeki said.
Though the fund establishment is seen as a Kaberuka initiative, he however stated that the fund was a collective effort and while the fund existed, it was empty and depended on embassies to collect small funds for peace and security operations.
He also said that there has been assurance (to the United Nations) on management of the fund and without its existence peace efforts would not bare fruits on the continent.