The African Peace Facility was established in 2004 in response to a request by African leaders. Financed through the European Development Fund, it constitutes the main source of funding to support the African Union's and African Regional Economic Communities' efforts in the area of peace and security with an overall amount of more than EUR 1.9 billion since 2004.
Through this instrument, the EU is at the forefront of international support to the African Peace and Security agenda, providing, in parallel to EU political backing, substantial and predictable funding to the African Union's and African Regional Economic Communities' efforts in the area of peace and security. Since its establishment in 2004, the EU has committed more than €2.7 billion. This partnership consists of three inter-linked priorities, which correspond to the specific objectives of the APF:
- Enhanced dialogue on challenges to peace and security
- Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
- Support to Peace Support Operations (PSOs) in Africa.
The APF has its legal basis on the Cotonou Agreement and it is funded through the European Development Fund (EDF). The direct beneficiaries of APF support are the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), with a mandate in Peace and Security, and relevant institutions within or related to the APSA. According to the EDF regulations, APF funds can be used to finance costs incurred by African countries that are deploying their peace-keeping forces under the banner of the AU or a REC/RM in another country.
The APF strategic orientation is based on a dual approach, which combines short-term funding to address crises as they occur with a longer-term support of institutional capacity building in Peace and Security.
In line with agreed priorities, APF funded activities fall in the following areas:
- Capacity Building
Capacity building is a major component of the APF since 2007. It aims at strengthening basic institutional capacities and efficiency of the AU and the RECs/RMs in the planning and conduct of PSOs in Africa as well as in the operationalization of the APSA. The long-term goal is to enable the African institutions to ensure peace and security on their own without external assistance.
- Early Response Mechanism (ERM)
The ERM allows rapidly responding to urgent needs by providing funding for the first stages of actions aimed at the prevention, management and resolution of crises. The APF foresees an initial allocation of €15 million for the ERM, earmarked in the Three-Year Action Programme 2014-2016).
- African-led Peace Support Operations
The AU and the RECs/RMs have committed themselves to taking charge of the challenge to secure peace and security in Africa, as a last resort through Africa-led PSOs. From a financial perspective, supporting these operations has represented the main area of commitment of the APF.
The Financing Agreement with an envelope of €750 million for the 2014-2016 Action Programme for the African Peace Facility was signed on 15 July 2014. In line with previous APF programmes, the direct beneficiaries remain the AU and the RECs/EMS, with close to 90% of the funds to support African-led peace operations and the rest to support the operationalization of the APSA and Early Response Mechanism actions aimed at conflict prevention and crisis management. The rules of eligibility of costs remain unchanged from the past, the APF may for example cover allowances for the troops, salaries for civilians, logistical, transportation, medical, communication costs but in no way can it fund military equipment, arms, ammunition or military training.
Following the outcome of the 2013 external evaluation of the APF and consultations with EU Member States, the 2014-2016 action programme introduced four new elements:
- A stronger emphasis on the need to establish exit strategies and increase gradually financial burden sharing for long-running peace operations to allow for stronger African ownership and better sustainability;
- The APF support to APSA and capacity building will be re-aligned with more targeted support and a gradual decrease of general support to staff costs in order to concentrate APF's support where it can have the greatest impact in building lasting capacities;
- A stronger emphasis on the need for more coherence and complementary between APF and RIP-funded activities and stronger coordination with the EU regional delegations;
- A simplification of the Commission decision procedure to increase speed and reactivity.