A Primer for Understanding How the African Union Mission in Somalia is Funded

The International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory has published a must-read primer on how the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is funded — written by George Washington University Associate Professor Paul D. Williams.

The article covers:

  • What AMISOM Financing Issues Are Causing Controversy?
  • How Has AMISOM Been Financed?
  • How Much Does the EU Pay AMISOM Peacekeepers?
  • How Does the EU Pay AMISOM Allowances?
  • How Much Money Goes to AMISOM Troops?
  • Why Did the EU Reduce AMISOM Allowances by 20% from January 2016?

It is often hard to understand the complex political mechanisms and funding streams through which peackekeeping operations are managed. Professor Williams explains, “AMISOM’s funding has come from multiple sources including AU member states, the AU Peace Fund, the UN Trust Fund for AMISOM (and, later, the Somali National Army), the UN Trust Fund for Somali Transitional Security Institutions, UN assessed peacekeeping contributions, and a range of AU/AMISOM partners, including the EU.”

Understanding these streams is critical because troop contributing countries (TCCs) have consistently complained that donor countries do not provide sufficient financial and material support to advance the mission. It should be noted, however, that the main obstacle to the mission’s completion is the lack of credible and coherent Somali security forces, and this has often disheartened the will of peacekeepers to continue.

Another reason Professor Williams’ primer is helpful is that there are multiple crises between TCCs, the AU, and donors over soldiers’ salaries and government reimbursements. As Professsor Williams writes:

…there have been arguments over the appropriate amount of money that should be provided to AMISOM troops as allowances. These arguments intensified when from January 2016, the EU, which pays for all the allowances for AMISOM troops, reduced its payment by 20%, from $1,028 to $822 per soldier, per month.

Second, there have been complaints by several TCCs over delayed payment of allowances to AMISOM peacekeepers in the field, with some claims of troops going without pay for over a year. The most recent delays involve a dispute over the signing of revised addendums to the memorandums of understanding between the AU and each of the TCCs.

Professor Williams goes to great lengths to describe the intricacies of the funding structures and some of the dilemmas going forward. The most intriguing problem is the crisis between the EU and Burundi. Burundi has threatened to withdraw more than 5,000 troops from Somalia as a result of its disputes with the EU, which Professor Williams explains:

“…the EU’s relationship with Burundi has generated its own unique set of arguments and issues. Specifically, in addition to the previous two issues, in March 2016 the EU Council decided to impose sanctions on the Burundi government related to Article 96 of the bloc’s Cotonou Agreement with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States. This meant the EU suspended direct financial support to the Burundian administration. Since then, the AU has investigated whether it might be possible to pay Burundian peacekeepers in AMISOM without channeling any monies to the Burundi government. But, so far, no solution has been found.”

Williams argues“…it seems highly unlikely that paying Burundian troops in AMISOM while bypassing the government is a way to meet the demands placed on EU financial aid by the Article 96 sanctions. The scenario of zero EU funds reaching AMISOM’s Burundian contingent should therefore be dealt with as a priority.”

The summaries outlined here do not do the article justice as to the level of insight and quality of recommendations provided in the article, so the full text can be found here.

Categories: AMISOM

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