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Boost for Amisom as AU adopts Peace Fund to finance peace operations

Storyline:National News

The African Union will raise $325 million annually to support 25% of its peace operations in a move that could help cover the 20% shortfall occasioned by the EU cut on Amisom stipends this year.

The development follows an adoption of the AU Peace Fund by heads of states and governments during the 27th ordinary summit in Rwanda Monday. The funds which will be raised equally from all the five regions of the continent will be drawn from a 0.2% levy on eligible imports.

Each region, the Summit agreed will contribute $65 million with an 80% target in 2020. The Fund will likely support one of the continent’s most expensive peace operations, Amisom which has lately suffered funds shortage following the decision by the European Union to impose a 20% cut on stipend to Amisom soldiers starting February this year.

Amisom operates on a $900 million annual budget with 22,000 troops drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The African Union, and particularly troops contributing countries to Amisom have in the past warned they would not contribute any money to fund Amisom noting the funding of peace operations is the responsibility of the UN.

AU Commission chairperson Dlamini Zuma said the African Union will also adopt mechanisms to develop a more robust and effectively system to seek funding from the UN to fund the remaining 75% of the cost of peace support operations.

In a similar development, the African Union will build the capacity of Somali security forces to ensure it effectively takes charge once Amisom troops leave the Horn of Africa country in 2018.

“We are planning to train and equip the Somali forces before pulling out from the country,” AU Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui said in Rwanda.

Chergui said the AU will start withdrawing its troops from Somalia starting 2018 but that there was need to ensure Somali security forces are capable to step in and fill the gaps left by Amisom.