In fulfillment of the commitment by the Heads of State and Government, made in 2015, to finance 25 percent of the cost of AU peace support operations, the African Union has taken the groundbreaking decision to institute a levy of 0.2 percent on eligible imports in order to address the funding challenges the African Union has faced since its inception. At the 27th AU Summit that concluded on Monday, the 18th of July 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda, the Assembly of the AU decided to commence the Peace Fund in order to finance AU’s peace and security operations.
65 million dollars per year is expected from each of the continent’s five regions, with this amount hopefully to increase to 80 million dollars per region by the year 2020. The funding will be used to support the AU’s five peace and security programs, which include the Panel of the Wise (PoW), the African Standby Force (ASF), Capacity Building, the Continental Early Warning Systems (CEWS), and Conflict Prevention. In addition, the concept of the Peace Fund has been endorsed by African Leaders, with three windows, namely the Peace Support Operations, Preventive Diplomacy and Mediation and Institutional Capacity. Non-financial aspects have also come into play, including the decision-making process for seeking funding from UN-assessed contributions for the remaining 75 percent of the cost of peace support operations, and the human rights and code of conduct compliance framework for Peace Support Operations.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, has extended her gratitude to the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, for the work he has put into conceptualizing a sustainable and predictable funding mechanism for the Peace Fund. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has also welcomed the decision by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union as the decision shows positive steps towards self-reliance, particularly in relation to the regional body’s peace and security budget. He notes that with interest the innovative funding arrangements aimed at providing the AU, via the Peace Fund, with increased financial means to address the peace and security challenges facing the continent.
In order for the impact of the Peace Fund to be felt, it is imperative that all governments in the different regions play their parts accordingly. It should not be limited to talking about it but, being about it, as well. Secondly, reputable and authentic monitoring and evaluation mechanisms must be put in place. Corruption must be pushed to the curb, and accountability, transparency, and honesty must prevail for this new initiative to prosper.