Peace, security challenges most pressing in Africa: AU

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The newly launched AU Peace Fund revolves on three major thematic areas, embracing mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity, and peace support operations. Image courtesy: Crisis Group
The newly launched AU Peace Fund revolves on three major thematic areas, embracing mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity, and peace support operations. Image courtesy: Crisis Group

The African Union (AU) said on Friday that ongoing peace and security challenges are the most pressing setbacks affecting the betterment of Africa and its people.

Africa is host to 8 UN peacekeeping operations, and dominates over 60 percent of the agenda of the UN Security Council, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Smail Chergui said.

“Many African countries and regions remain trapped in a vicious cycle of conflict with devastating consequences that undermine the continent’s development and integration agenda,” Chergui said.

Chergui also revealed that the traditional challenges to peace and security such as political competition, ethnic tensions or electoral violence are now exacerbated by emerging non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism and transnational crime, drug trafficking, and complex competition between super powers which has scaled up the militarization of some parts of the continent.

“Of the many challenges facing the African continent, “the quest for peace and security is undoubtedly the most pressing,” the AU commissioner said.

“More pressing for us is to end the conflicts that are active in Libya, the Sahel region, the Horn of Africa, Lake Chad Basin and the Great Lakes region,” he added.

African leaders, during the 11th AU extraordinary summit that was held earlier this month at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, had launched the AU Peace Fund with a major aim of tackling conflicts in the continent.

The newly launched AU Peace Fund revolves on three major thematic areas, embracing mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity, and peace support operations.

Chergui on Friday disclosed that the AU has recorded 60.5 million U.S. dollars contributions from its member states to the Peace Fund.

The reported contribution is said to be the highest contribution since the establishment of the 55-member pan African bloc.

The pan African bloc has projected to reach 100 million dollars contribution by early 2019, based on the additional commitments expressed during the recent assembly of heads of state.