Amani Africa appeals to the Peace and Security Council to uphold the principle of non-indifference by taking concrete measures in the face of the worsening humanitarian crises including in Sudan

Amani Africa appeals to the Peace and Security Council to uphold the principle of non-indifference by taking concrete measures in the face of the worsening humanitarian crises including in Sudan

Date | 2 October 2023

Solomon Ayele Dersso, PhD
Founding Director, Amani Africa


Your excellency Ambassador Churchil Monono, Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council for the Month of September 2023

Your excellencies, members of the Peace and Security Council

We at Amani Africa Media and Research Services have the pleasure of addressing this premier peace and security decision-making body of our Union on this timely and pressing theme.

The Malabo Extraordinary Summit is a key milestone in Africa’s long journey towards putting in place mechanisms for effectively responding to and addressing humanitarian crises on the continent since the OAU’s 1969 Convention Governing Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problems in Africa.

With the establishment of the African Humanitarian Agency, the Summit enabled the AU to be equipped with the institutional arrangement that helps facilitate in the implementation of the Union’s normative and policy instruments from the 1969 Refugee Convention to the Kampala Convention on the Protection of IDPs.


One of the unique attributes of the AU is the fact that it is founded on the principle of non-indifference. As an expression of the African world view ‘I am because you are’, Ubuntu, this principle Commits the African Union to come to the protection of people who are caught up in humanitarian crises and not to stand by and watch as they endure massacre, forced displacement and starvation.

The outcomes of the Malabo Summit including the African Humanitarian Agency are critical to giving expression in practical terms to this AU’s founding principle of non-indifference. The implication of this is that the AU, including through the leadership of the PSC, will and should be the first to engage in mobilizing responses to the needs of people caught up in humanitarian crises.

While part of the provision of response to humanitarian needs involves contributing to the raising of the funds and mobilizing humanitarian assistance required to meet such needs on the continent, AU’s role including through the African Humanitarian Agency will not primarily be to become the main funder and provider of humanitarian assistance on the continent.

Considering the well-developed capacities and instruments at the disposal of various humanitarian actors including UN humanitarian agencies like the UNHCR or ICRC, AU’s comparative advantage, on account of its unique attributes, lies mobilizing solidarity, political action, coordination and diplomacy. AU’s role thus first relates to coordination of humanitarian action for which the AU, through the African Humanitarian Agency, needs to engage in the tracking of the humanitarian situation and the collection of data on trends in and dynamics of the humanitarian situation on the continent. This additionally entails the identification of the needs of and mobilization of support to countries and communities in their effort to mitigate and respond to humanitarian crises.

The Second concerns the creation of space and the provision of support for mobilization of public opinion and action on humanitarian needs and for the organization and effective functioning of local humanitarian actors. As part of giving recognition to the enormous burden that host communities and countries bear as first responders, this should not only tap into the role of African non-state actors but also support the development and organization of indigenous entities engaged in supporting humanitarian action.

Third and perhaps the most significant role and contribution that is particularly befitting to the attributes of the AU involves humanitarian diplomacy. Considering its diplomatic and political profile, the AU is best placed to use the African Humanitarian Agency as the vehicle for mobilizing and engaging in humanitarian diplomacy. With the Agency, the AU has come to have a much-needed tool, as part of its peace and security and humanitarian action toolbox, critical to effectively developing AU’s capacity in humanitarian diplomacy.

It is therefore Amani Africa’s submission that particular attention is given in the building AU’s role in humanitarian action to humanitarian diplomacy. AU’s humanitarian diplomacy is best mobilized and organized around, among others,

  1. advocating for the mobilization of support for people in humanitarian crisis and the recognition and support of national and local humanitarian actors in their effort to support those affected by humanitarian crises;
  2. the deployment of diplomatic missions for facilitating unhindered humanitarian access;
  3. securing guarantee from conflict parties for safe, free and voluntary passage for civilians in conflict settings to areas where they can access assistance; and
  4. promoting respect for and full cooperation by conflict parties with humanitarian actors;
  5. monitor and advocate for compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law standards as well as humanitarian principles;

Excellencies and distinguished participants,

When Africa faced major humanitarian crises as a result of conflicts and insecurity in the 1990s, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) pointed out in the Declaration Establishing the OAU mechanism on Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution that ‘conflicts have forced millions of our people, including women and children, into a drifting life as refugees and internally displaced persons, deprived of their means of livelihood, human dignity and hope’. These same powerful words are restated in the preamble to the PSC protocol.

In recent years, we have unfortunately experienced continuing deterioration in the humanitarian situation on the continent. The refugee and displacement crisis on our continent is currently at record high. As a result, today there are more people on our continent today than in the 1990s ‘who are forced into a drifting life as refugees and IDPs, deprived of their dignity and hope’.

The number of people forcibly displaced, mostly as a result of war and conflicts, have reached more than 40 million. This, your excellencies, is more than double the number of forcibly displaced people in 2016.

That such a staggering number of people on our continent are ‘forced to live a drifting life as refuges and IDPs deprived of their dignity and hope’ far more than in the 1990s is an indictment for all of us and particularly the AU and this august body.

In the light of the continually deteriorating humanitarian situation on the continent and in order to avail the PSC a mechanism for a more effective engagement in humanitarian action, it is therefore our submission that the PSC establishes an African platform on humanitarian action along the lines of the African Platform on Children Affected by Conflict – this platform on humanitarian action like the one on Children can be co-chaired by PSC member(s) that champion(s) this theme, interested members of the PSC, PAPS department and technical entities like UNHCR and research organizations like Amani Africa that provide the technical backstopping.

The urgency for humanitarian action in Sudan

Currently, the most heart wrenching manifestation of the gravity of the forced displacement crisis on the continent is the raging war in Sudan. The humanitarian situation has become so concerning so much so that the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffith, who did not mince his words in stating that the war in Sudan is fuelling a humanitarian emergency of epic proportions, sounded the alarm with the extraordinary warning that ‘war and hunger could destroy Sudan.’


On the 15th day of this month, the war in Sudan marked its fifth months. During this period, nearly six million people have been forcibly displaced, with one million of them crossing into neighbouring countries as refugees and asylum seekers and the remaining displaced internally.

This means that this war forcibly displaced over a million people every month.

One of the world’s fast-growing displacement crises is also unfortunately accompanied by other no less severe humanitarian crisis including but not limited to

  • severe challenges to humanitarian access (humanitarian actors are able to reach only 19 percent of the 18 million people in need of humanitarian assistance) and
  • other forms of humanitarian emergencies including complete breakdown of the health system in Sudan, with nearly 80 percent of health services not functioning as a result of the indiscriminate attacks that warring parties perpetrated on civilian infrastructure in the country and with more than 6 million including hundreds of thousands of children facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity.


As I conclude, I would like to state that the principle of non-indifference, which is the golden standard for the effective functioning of AU’s role in peace and security and humanitarian action, requires this august body not to be a bystander as Sudan faces the risk of not only humanitarian disaster but also collapse.

As Amani Africa we therefore submit that the PSC establishes a taskforce for monitoring, documenting and reporting on the humanitarian situation and protection of civilians in Sudan as well as for engaging in humanitarian diplomacy efforts focusing on

  • the mobilization of support from within the continent in expression of solidarity with the people of Sudan;
  • Ensuring that the conflict parties commit to and unconditionally stop indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure;
  • securing guarantee from conflict parties to ensure for safe, free and voluntary passage for civilians in conflict settings to areas where they can access assistance; and
  • promoting respect for and full cooperation by conflict parties with humanitarian actors
  • Ensuring compliance with human rights and international humanitarian law standards.

Thank you for your attention!

The content of this article does not represent the views of Amani Africa and reflect only the personal views of the authors who contribute to ‘Ideas Indaba’

Provisional programme of work for the month of October 2023

Provisional programme of work for the month of October 2023

Date | 30 September 2023

For the month of October, the Republic of Congo takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The PSC’s provisional programme of work of the month, prepared under the guidance of the incoming chairperson includes four substantive sessions as well as the annual consultative meeting of the PSC with the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC). Three sessions will be addressing various thematic issues, one session will have country-specific focus. The PSC is also expected to conduct a field mission to Libya within the month.

At the start of the month, on 3 and 4 October, the PSC Committee of Experts (CoE) and the UNSC Working Group will meet to prepare for the 8th joint informal seminar and 17th joint annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the UNSC. The CoE and Working group meeting will take place at the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building inside the African Union. While the CoE travelled to New York several times for such preparatory meeting, it is the first time that the UN Security Council Working Group to Addis Ababa.

On 5 October, the PSC will convene its 8th joint informal seminar with the UNSC. This 8th edition of the informal seminar is scheduled to focus on discussion on financing of AU PSOs and working methods in UNSC-PSC relationship. his seminar will immediately be succeeded on 6 October by the 17th joint annual consultative meeting between the PSC and UNSC. The agenda for this joint consultative meeting covers country/region specific situations namely Sudan, Sahel, Somalia and ATMIS and the situation in Eastern DRC.

On 10 October for its first substantive session, the PSC will receive a briefing by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on its activities and the humanitarian situation in Africa. Since 2007, the ICRC has made regular briefings to the PSC, and ICRC’s president Mirjana Spoljaric Egger is expected to present the briefing this year, to reflect on pertinent humanitarian concerns in Africa. Among other key points, the briefing could provide    an opportunity to discuss persisting and emerging trends in the humanitarian situation and in the provision of humanitarian assistance in the continent.

For its second substantive and only country-specific session of the month, on 17 October, the PSC will receive updates on the two recent situations of military coup in Africa: Niger and Gabon. Since the coup in Niger on 26 July, this will be the third time the PSC will be discussing the situation. During its previous session on 14 August, the PSC had decided to suspend Niger from all activities of the AU, and its organs and institutions until effective restoration of constitutional order.

Following the coup in Gabon on 30 August, the PSC held an emergency session on the situation on 31 August where it condemned the coup and immediately suspended Gabon from all activities of the AU and its organs and institutions until the restoration of constitutional order and demanded such restoration to be through the conduct of a free, fair, credible, and transparent election observed by the AU Election Observer Mission and the concerned region. This session will allow the PSC to scrutinize the implementation and effectiveness of the outcomes of its previous sessions to ensure restoration of constitutional order in both Niger and Gabon.

As its third substantive session on 19 August, the PSC will discuss on the AU Sanctions regime. The PSC is expected to deliberate on the effectiveness and enforceability of the AU Sanctions regime. During its 1100th session held on 15 August 2022, the PSC had deliberated on sanctions and enforcement, particularly as a deterrence against unconstitutional changes of government (UCGs). The PSC is expected to receive update on the development of the sanctions mechanism and the related progress towards the operationalization of the PSC Sub-Committee on Sanctions.

From 23 to 26 October, the PSC will undertake a field mission to Libya, to express AU Solidarity with the Libyan people and to gather first-hand information on the situation on the ground with a view to adopt more informed decisions on the next steps in favor of Libya. This field mission is a follow up on the PSC’s decision of its 1136th meeting. In addition to armed conflicts, Libya is grappling with the devastating impact of the deadliest Mediterranean tropical-like cyclone in recorded history, Storm/Cyclone Daniel, that hit Libya, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, and Israel at the beginning of September 2023. The impact of the cyclone hit Libya the hardest with the World Health Organization (WHO) recording over 4000 deaths and over 8500 people missing, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimating over 43,000 people displaced in Libya, while Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria had 17, 7 and 4 fatalities respectively. The significantly devastating impact of the cyclone in Libya was due to the country’s vulnerabilities owing to weakened critical infrastructure involving dams in Derna due to lack of maintenance and neglect made possible by years’ long conflict that has plagued the country. This field mission to Libya would present an opportunity for the PSC to assess the transitional process in Libya and engage the various stakeholders on the reconciliation conference for which the AU took responsibility to organize.

For its fourth and final substantive session for the month of October, the PSC will consider the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Counterterrorism. At its 957th session held on 20 October 2020, the PSC had decided to dedicate an annual session to assess the progress in the Continental efforts in combating the scourge of terrorism, radicalization, and violent extremism, as well as foreign terrorist fighters. The last time the Chairperson of the Commission presented a report to the PSC on Counterterrorism efforts was on 22 October 2021, at the 1040th ministerial level session of the PSC.

As indicated in the footnotes of the programme of work for October, during the month, the PSC will also be considering the provisional programme of work for November 2023 via email. The footnotes also envisage an informal consultation to be held on 13 October, between PSC member states and the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).


Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council

Engagement with the UNHCR on post- Malabo Extraordinary Summit on Humanitarian Action

Engagement with the UNHCR on post- Malabo Extraordinary Summit on Humanitarian Action

Date | 28 September 2023

Tomorrow (29 September) the PSC is expected to convene its 1176th session on humanitarian action with an engagement with the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the post-Malabo Extraordinary Summit.

Following opening remarks by Churchill Ewumbue-Monono, Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the AU and the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of September 2023, Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS), is expected to make a presentation. The Chairperson of the PRC Subcommittee on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons is also expected to deliver a presentation to be followed by statements from representatives of UNHCR; the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and Amani Africa Media and Research Services.

On 18 May 2023, the PSC held an open session on humanitarian action in Africa for its 1155th meeting where it expressed deep concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in various African regions, including Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Horn of Africa, Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, and Southern Africa. The PSC had also expressed concern about dwindling resources for effective responses and called for increased financial mobilization while commending Member states and RECs/RMs for their humanitarian assistance efforts and aiding affected populations. The issue of humanitarian access was also discussed, with the PSC calling on belligerent parties to adhere strictly to international humanitarian and human rights laws, ensure humanitarian access, and safeguard the security of aid agencies. The PSC also welcomed the adoption of the African Humanitarian Agency’s Statute in 2023, requesting its prompt operationalization and resource mobilization.

The humanitarian situation in Africa has increasingly become dire, with 30 million people in the continent being internally displaced persons, refugees or asylum-seekers, according to UNHCR figures. This dire situation is driven by a complex combination of factors, including violent conflicts, terrorism, inter-communal violence, unconstitutional changes of government, famine, and the increasing impact of climate change-related phenomena like crop failures, droughts, floods, landslides, and cyclones, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and livelihoods. Only recently, the earthquake in Morocco and the devastating floods in Libya have affected and claimed the lives of thousands of people. Faced with such reality, Africa’s prosperity and development continue to be threatened and realization of the aspirations of Agenda 2063 remain challenged.

It is expected that the central focus of tomorrow’s session will be to review the implementation of the outcomes of the 15th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in May 2022, particularly regarding funding, institutional cooperation, and the 10-year AU Humanitarian Agenda.

Reflecting the importance of the outcomes of the humanitarian summit, during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, as a decision on the report on the activities of the PSC and the state of peace and security in Africa, the Assembly had “urged the PSC to prioritize the implementation of the outcomes of the 15th Extraordinary African Union Humanitarian Summit and Pledging held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in May 2022, to robustly respond to the pressing twin security issues of Unconstitutional Changes of Government (UCG) and the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism”. At the Humanitarian Summit, AU Member States agreed to address common challenges and undertake actions towards the six declarations they made: on humanitarian challenges; on climate change, disasters and forced displacement in Africa; on food security and nutrition in humanitarian situations in Africa; on COVID-19 and health challenges in the humanitarian space in Africa; on post conflict reconstruction and development for refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa; and on resource mobilization and financing for humanitarian action in Africa.

One of the outcomes of the Malabo Summit, with its Statute adopted during 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in February 2023, was the creation of the African Humanitarian Agency (AfHA). Member States declared to allocate over USD176million to the AfHA to enable it to execute its strategic mandate. However, the collection of the entire amount pledged has yet to be effected. It is to be recalled that the PSC during its 1155th meeting on 18 May 2023 also “underlined the need for Member States to generously contribute to the AU Special Emergencies’ Fund and encouraged all Member States and partners who pledged support during the AU Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit and Pledging Conference, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea from 25 to 28 May 2022 to expeditiously redeem their pledges.”

Another follow up that could be discussed during the 1176th session is the status of developing the Plan of Action for implementing the outcomes of the Humanitarian Summit, which is to be prepared by the AU Commission. Aside from that, the PSC may also recall the 2019 Global Refugee Forum held in Geneva, when the AU, its Member States, the AU Commission as well as Regional Communities made wide-ranging pledges. In addition to following up on the implementation of these pledges, the PSC could urge Member States and the AU Commission to make a Pan-African pledge that is centered in the outcomes of the Malabo Declaration, at the second edition of the Global Refugee Forum expected to take place in December 2023, in Geneva.

Further to that, tomorrow’s briefing also presents an opportunity for the PSC to reflect on the various humanitarian challenges in the continent and to discuss ways forward for ensuring effective response and sustainable solutions to Africa’s growing humanitarian needs, despite the existing difficulties. To that end, the PSC’s discussion could bring the needed attention to the existing situations across the continent. One such instance is the situation in Sudan. In the past five months alone, the deadly conflict in Sudan that erupted on 11 April 2023 has forced over 3.3 million people to flee their homes to other parts of Sudan or neighboring countries such as Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia, CAR, and Egypt. However, the PSC’s attention towards Sudan has been considerably low. Since April 2023, there were only two solely Sudan-focused sessions (1149th meeting on 16 April and 1156th meeting on 27 May). In addition, there have been three sessions where the PSC considered the situation in Sudan as part of its meetings with broader focus. For instance, on 26 April, the PSC held an informal consultation with countries in political transition, with Sudan being one of the four countries of concern. For its 1154th session on 16 May, the situation in Sudan was one of the two agenda items tabled for the consideration of the PSC. During the PSC’s 1158th session on 15 June, it received updated briefings on the situation in the Horn of Africa, Sudan forming one of the four contexts discussed. Further neglect of the situation in Sudan, which includes the atrocities and severe humanitarian crisis in reported in places such as Darfur, would not only be a missed opportunity for the PSC to demonstrate leadership in resolving the crisis, but also a failure to fulfill its main responsibilities of ensuring peace and security in the continent.

The expected outcome of the session is a Communiqué. The PSC may express deep concern over the escalating rate of humanitarian need in the continent as compared to the constraints and decline in humanitarian action. It may emphasize that conflicts and instability form the major factor that create and facilitate humanitarian suffering the continent and as such, call on all relevant actors to expend efforts towards realization of AU’s Roadmap for Silencing the Guns with its overarching objective of achieving a secure and peaceful Africa. Underscoring the critical role it is envisioned to play towards better coordinating humanitarian assistance in the continent, the PSC may also urge Member States to fulfil their pledges towards funding the AfHA. It may further urge the PRC sub-committees on structures and Finance as well as the AU Commission to expedite the operationalization of the AfHA. The PSC may also appeal to international partners to remain committed and to continue their humanitarian support to affected communities across the continent. It may also express alarm over the escalating violations of international humanitarian law, including deliberate attacks against civilians and obstacles to humanitarian access, attacks against public infrastructure and campsites hosting displaced populations and other violations that require accountability and proper action. Noting deteriorating humanitarian situations in conflict affected member states such as Sudan, the PSC may call on partners and all relevant actors to scale up support. It may further emphasize the need for strengthened engagement in humanitarian diplomacy and urge relevant civil society actors to fortify efforts in this respect.

Ministerial session on financing of AU led peace support operations

Ministerial session on financing of AU led peace support operations

Date | 22 September 2023

Tomorrow (23 September), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1175th meeting at a ministerial level to deliberate on financing of AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs). The meeting will be held in the margins of the 78th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, USA.

Cameroon’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, chairperson of the PSC for the month of September, is expected to open the session. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Commission Chairperson, will make a statement. Donald Kaberuka, the AU High-Representative for the Peace Find and Financing of the AU, is also expected to address the session. On the part of the UN, it is envisaged that Jean-pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, and Rosemary A. DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, will make statement as well. The representatives of the African Members in the UN Security Council (A3), namely Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique and the incoming two African members of the UN Security Council, Algeria and Sierra Leone, will also be present for this ministerial session.

The last time that the PSC met to discuss the issue of financing AU PSOs was on 12 May of this year during its 1153rd session, which was held at the ministerial level. In that session, the PSC authorized the A3 to ‘resume consultations with the relevant stakeholders towards the adoption of a UNSC resolution on financing AU-led PSOs.’ This set the negotiation process towards the adoption of UNSC resolution in motion, a process that was put on hold after the request of the PSC in September 2019 to suspend the negotiation over the draft resolution put forward by South Africa. (For more details see Amani Africa’s 10 May 2023 Special Research Report).

From our consultations, Ghana – who is spearheading the agenda of adopting a framework resolution on financing AU PSOs – has developed a draft resolution to start the negotiation process in the UNSC. It is anticipated that the draft resolution may be circulated sometime in October with the hope to table the resolution for voting in December during Ecuador’s Presidency. Tomorrow’s session thus offers an opportunity for the PSC to provide substantive and concrete guidance on how to proceed with the negotiation particularly on the remaining delicate issues in the coming months.

The renewed interest in and the window of opportunity towards the adoption of the long pending resolution is a result of various developments both at the level of the AU and the UN as well as changes in the peace and security dynamics and the dynamics in the UNSC. The AU Commission prepared what it called ‘African consensus paper on predictable, adequate, and sustainable financing for African Union peace and security activities’, which the AU Assembly considered and adopted in February 2023 at its 36th ordinary session. This Consensus Paper not only presented the advances that the AU made in strengthening its various institutional, normative and regulatory processes but it also clarified AU’s position on burden sharing.

On the part of the UN, following the presidential statement of August 2022 under Chinese presidency of the UNSC which requested UN Secretary-General to provide the Security Council, by 30 April 2023, a report on progress made by the UN and the AU to fulfil the commitments set out in resolutions 2320 and 2378, and recommendations to secure predictable, sustainable and flexible resources, the Secretary-General released the report on 1 May and presented to the UNSC during its 25 May 2023 session. The dynamics within the UNSC today is more favorable for the adoption of a resolution on financing than it was before as the statements delivered by UNSC members during the 25 May briefing clearly attest. Considering that a major factor for the collapse of the process for the adoption of a resolution in December 2018 was a US threat to veto the resolution, a notable positive development is US’s statement expressing more positive and supportive stance towards the adoption of the resolution.

Further to that, while the nature of the peace and security context increasingly demands the use of instruments that go beyond those applicable to UN peacekeeping and hence putting UN peace operations on the continent under increasing pressure, there is no appetite in the UN for deploying UN peacekeeping. Additionally, the recent geopolitical shifts that increasingly acknowledge Africa as a key global actor can find meaningful institutional expression through, among others, the decision to use UN assessed contribution for AU PSOs.

In the context of the last attempt for the adoption of a UNSC resolution during 2018/2019 and following the suspension of the process in September 2019, the issues requiring further engagement have been identified. Broadly speaking, four issues emerged as requiring further engagement between the AU and the UN to pave the way for the adoption of a UNSC resolution: the question of burden-sharing, compliance frameworks for human rights and international humanitarian law, fiduciary standards of financial arrangements and reporting, and oversight and command and control of the missions. (For more details on the history of the negotiation and the controversial issues, see Amani Africa’s 10 May 2023 Special Research Report).

Despite the favorable political dynamics within the UNSC, the negotiation over the draft resolution will not be easy. The 25 May 2023 UNSC briefing reveals that support on the part of UNSC members including some of the P5 remains uneven.  In that regard, it is worth noting that the representative of the UK, during the 25 May briefing, stressed the need for the AU to ‘openly and clearly establish how it intends to share the financial burden’, and further warning that ‘any scope for misinterpretation will result in new initiatives being stalled’. Together with the issues that others like Brazil, Albania and Japan raised, further compromise and agreement may be required on some of these sticking issues.

During tomorrow’s session, it is expected that the PSC, apart from reiterating the progress made in enhancing ownership and burden sharing through the AU Peace Fund, may highlight the need for giving due recognition to the unaccounted aspects of the financial burden that AU member states bear in mobilizing and deploying troops who pay with their lives and limbs. It may further reaffirm the position of the Consensus Paper that the AU would cover the costs relating to the preparatory stages of the deployment of PSOs supported by UN assessed contributions. Considering the expectation on the part of some members of the UNSC for further commitment for financial burden sharing, the PSC may indicate in the context of the clear commitment that the AU demonstrated in recent years that instead of making unrealistic commitment for a specific percentage for all PSOs that may be funded through UN assessed contributions that further financial contribution is considered at the time of the planning and negotiation of the deployment of each PSO.

Tomorrow’s session will also serve as an opportunity for the PSC to also express its support for the financing model for accessing UN assessed contributions for AU-led PSOs as articulated both in the AU Consensus Paper and the Secretary-General’s May 2023 report. With respect to oversight and command and control, the PSC may also welcome the proposed formula in the Secretary-General’s report as the basis for formulating the provisions in the resolution while affirming the importance of the development of joint AU-UN planning guidelines.

The PSC should take lessons from the 2018/19 negotiation process to avoid the risk of another failure. First, it is imperative to ensure the cohesion of the A3 members and that they are able to speak in one voice on controversial issues throughout the negotiation process. In that regard, an interesting development is PSC’s suspension of Gabon – a member of the A3 – after the 20 August military coup. It remains to be seen whether the sanction will affect Gabon’s relations with other A3 members, as well as the PSC while engaging on the file. Second, building a broader consensus with the UNSC members is also crucial. One immediate available avenue to that end is the upcoming 17th annual joint consultative meeting between the PSC and the UNSC, which is scheduled to take place from 5 to 6 October in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. PSC may commend the efforts of the A3, and request them to fast track the finalization of the draft resolution and the negotiation on the same in order to seize the current window of opportunity for the adoption of the resolution before the end of the year. The PSC may emphasize the need for a sustained engagement between the AU Commission, the PSC and the A3 throughout the negotiation process; and to that end, it may request a regular briefing from the A3 until the successful completion of the negotiation process. The PSC may affirm AU-led PSOs authorized by the UNSC and funded through UN assessed contribution as being part of the range of tools that the UN deploys for maintenance of international peace and security. The PSC may also welcome the proposals contained in the Secretary-General’s May 2023 report notably with respect to monitoring and reporting, joint and consultative decision-making. It may commend the progress made by the AU for achieving ownership and burden sharing and signal that specific financial contribution by the AU for a PSO funded by UN assessed contribution is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. It may also express the need for the UNSC to recognize the important contribution of AU PSOs for international peace and security, hence for the realization of the primary responsibility of the UNSC.

Briefing on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

Briefing on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

Date | 17 September 2023

Tomorrow (18 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1174th Session that is dedicated to Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea.

The PSC Chair for the month and Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the AU, Ambassador Ewumbue-Monono Churchill will be delivering the opening remarks. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is also expected to make a statement. Additionally, a briefing is expected to be delivered by the newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), José Mba Abeso, while the representatives of the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre, Yaoudé (CRESMAO/CRESMAC); the Coordinator of the Experts for the Establishment of the Regional Maritime Task Force; as well as the representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are expected to deliver statements.

The PSC have so far dedicated various sessions for the consideration of maritime security issues in the continent. Amongst those sessions, in 2022, the PSC has convened two sessions (1128th and 1090th sessions) particularly focused on the Maritime Security situation in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). Similarly, Piracy and armed robbery at sea in the GoG have resulted in three United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions (S/RES/2634 (2022), S /RES/2039 (2012) and S /RES/2018 (2011)).

The last session of the PSC that addressed the issue of maritime security in the GoG was the 1128th session held on 19 December 2022 during Nigeria’s Chairship. In the Communique released following the session, the PSC reiterated its concern over the insecurity posed by pirates and organized criminal networks operating in the GoG. Apart from this communique the decline in the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents was also highlighted in the UNSC Resolution 2634 and the UN Secretary General’s report that was released in November 2022.

However, not only that this decline is not steady but also is not indicative of the absence of maritime security in the GoG. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), compared to 84 attacks on ships and 135 kidnapping of seafarers in 2020 the data has shown a significant decrease in recent years. While there were 45 incidents in 2021, there were only 11 in 2022. This trend changed during this year. Despite the positive progress observed in the past two years, the IBM’s 2023 Mid-Year Report raises concern about the resurgence of maritime piracy and armed robbery in the GoG. The report indicates that 15 incidents were recorded from January – June 2023, which is higher than the total number of incidents recorded in the entire year of 2022. The UN Secretary General has also indicated new worrying trends and ‘a noticeable shift’ in the geographical location of piracy incidents from ECOWAS to ECCAS.

In order to further diminish maritime insecurity, the PSC at its 1128th session, among others, called for enhancement of the institutional capacities of national navies, law enforcement and border control agencies and the adoption of measures that ensure permanent presence of African naval forces at sea. In the light of the increase in incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery, during tomorrow’s session, apart from following up on these decisions and deliberating on the factors behind the spike in incidents of piracy and armed robbery during 2023, the PSC members may consider requesting the AU Commission to develop, in consultation with the Gulf of Guinea Commission, a plan for the deployment of the naval force whose permanent presence it called for during its previous session.

Additionally, while as pointed out in the UN Secretary-General’s report that increased conviction of pirates by national authorities, naval patrols, improved cooperation among countries of the region, and deployment of non-GoG navies contributed to mitigating maritime insecurity in GoG, these security measures need not only to be strengthened but also to be complemented by non-security measures that also target the root causes of maritime insecurity. As such, basing its premises upon the multidimensional nature of maritime security threats, the PSC may focus on the overlooked aspects of the issue. In doing so, it may be useful for the PSC to center its discussion on the implementation of the continental and regional legal and policy frameworks, such as the African Charter on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa (Lomé Charter), the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIMs) and the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.

In this regard, it is important to note that the Lomé Charter is yet to come into force with the ratification of only three countries and some of its important provisions are pending further discussions before being added as annexes to the Charter. Given its importance, the PSC in different sessions has urged all Member States to ratify the Charter by reiterating the importance of the Charter as an African instrument for promoting peace, security and safety in Africa’s maritime domain.

Additionally, the eight draft annexes to the Charter that were revised by the AU Maritime Taskforce seek to regulate the marine environment as well as the development aspect of maritime security. To this end, in its 682nd session that was held in April 2017, the Council requested the AU Commission to expedite the finalization of the draft annexes. Subsequently, during the 858th session that was held in July 2019, the AU Commission was requested ‘to include the consideration of the draft Annexes to the Lomé Charter in the agenda of the upcoming sessions of the relevant Specialized Technical Committees (STCs)’ A further request was made ‘to organize a meeting of the STCs Coordination Mechanism for the development of a roadmap on the finalization of the draft annexes to the Lomé Charter, before end of the year’ (2019).  However, the current status of these annexes is not known and looking back at the previous sessions of the PSC, no updates were given to the PSC on progress made with regards to the annexes. Hence, it is also pertinent that the Council follows up on the progress towards the development of the annexes and the entry into force of the Lomé Charter.

With respect to measures at the continental level, one of the key decisions of PSC’s earlier session was the establishment of a body of experts or a Task Force to coordinate, share knowledge and make recommendations on maritime security. It is to be seen whether the AU Commission will provide update on this. The other decision for update concerns the decision for the conduct of the first-ever Regional Maritime Command Post Exercise within the framework of the African Standby Force (ASF) and Combined Maritime Task Force (CMTF). The Council planned a follow-up session in March 2023 during Tanzania’s chairship of the PSC to review the progress of the exercise. However, the session was postponed, although the 1159th PSC session expressed its anticipation for the successful execution of the planned ASF continental maritime exercise. It is however worth noting that current financial, logistical, institutional and political dynamics in the AU and continentally are far from conducive for the conduct of such exercise.

Another expected issue to be discussed in tomorrow’s meeting is the other security measure that the PSC envisioned during its 1012th session in July 2021, which is the need for a naval capacity within the ASF framework to address maritime security threats in Africa. To this end, the 1159th session held in June 2023 emphasized the importance of having a maritime component within the ASF to support maritime trade and enable the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). However, the Council may need to clarify what the creation of a naval capacity within the ASF framework mean to the already existing plethora of security initiatives.

On the other hand, as a regional instrument, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct serves as the primary framework for addressing piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). Signed by 25 countries from West and Central Africa, this non-binding instrument utilizes the Yaoundé Architecture as a regional framework to mitigate maritime threats. Recently, the Yaoundé Code of Conduct reached its 10-year milestone since its adoption in June 2013. In an effort to strengthen the existing framework, the Third Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) was convened in Accra on 25 April. During this meeting, the heads of state instructed the GGC to create a strategic framework within a three-month timeframe. This framework will include an evaluation of existing systems and structures, leveraging successful ones and investigating methods to strengthen areas that need improvement.

During the upcoming PSC session, it is expected that the Council will receive a briefing on these developments. The session may also present the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and discussions are expected to focus on exploring ways to further strengthen existing mechanisms.

In this evaluation process, it is important to consider the challenges outlined in the UN Secretary General’s report. While highlighting that the Yaoundé Architecture has made notable progress towards achieving some of its primary objectives, the report identified inadequate staffing, a lack of appropriate equipment and logistical support, and unpredictable and unsustainable financing as significant barriers. Moreover, the report also emphasized challenges related to the timeliness and effectiveness of information. In this regard, by taking into consideration that the suppressive approach adopted by the Yaounde Architecture lacks the mechanisms to address the root causes of the problem, the PSC may explore ways to address the root causes that are resulting the cyclical effect on maritime crimes. By extension, this will also require the PSC to assess the underlying governance concerns.

Another significant matter that warrants the attention of the PSC is the linkage between maritime security and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is a key focus for the AU this year. With 38 coastal states out of 55, Africa heavily relies on maritime transport for its imports and exports, with 90% of trade being transported by sea. The successful implementation of the AfCFTA has the potential to significantly boost intra-African trade and industrialization. As stated by the Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Antonio Pedro of theEconomic Commission for Africa (ECA), the AfCFTA could increase intra-African trade by 34% in 2045. However, achieving the promise of the AfCFTA requires not only improved transport infrastructure but also enhanced maritime safety and security measures.

As trade increases and shipping levels rise, there is a growing need for effective safety measures at sea. Again, it is crucial to address the root causes of maritime insecurities to ensure long-term resolution of the problem. In this regard, it is expected that the PSC will highlight that this goes beyond simply reducing the number of incidents and requires a comprehensive approach to maritime safety and security.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to express serious concern over the resurgence in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region as well as the economic cost to the countries of the region. The PSC may further express concern regarding the emerging shift in the geographical location of piracy incidents from ECOWAS to ECCAS regional waters, and in that regard, it may call upon Member States in the region, ECOWAS, ECCAS, and the GGC to enhance cooperation and coordination in the fight against maritime crimes in the GoG. The PSC may encourage Gulf of Guinea states that have developed and enforced domestic legislation to prosecute maritime crimes, notably piracy and armed robbery and call on those states that have not done so to enact national laws that allow for the prosecution of pirates and maritime criminals. The PSC may also emphasize on the need to give equal focus on a non-repressive/security approach that aim at solving factors such as enabling coastal communities to benefit from the use and development of maritime resources. The PSC may encourage Member States that have not yet signed and ratified the Lomé Charter, taking into account the ongoing review of its annexes, to consider signing and ratifying the Charter. In this regard the PSC may also encourage Member States to make all necessary efforts in implementing 2050 AIMs and its Plan of Action. The PSC may acknowledge the political determination of Member States in the region, as demonstrated by their efforts to implement the Yaoundé architecture and enhance enforcement measures. However, it may also underscore the importance of addressing the remaining obstacles to fully operationalize the architecture. PSC may request the AU Commission as a follow up to its 1128th session decision on the presence of naval forces to develop, in consultation with the Gulf of Guinea Commission, a plan for the deployment of such forces. Similarly, the PSC may also request the AU Commission to report to it concrete action plans with respect to the establishment of the proposed body of experts or a Task Force to coordinate, share knowledge and make recommendations on maritime security and the finalization of the eight annexes to the Lomé Charter with clear timelines.

Update on the situation in Somalia and activities of ATMIS

Update on the situation in Somalia and activities of ATMIS

Date | 13 September 2023

Tomorrow (14 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will receive updates on the situation in Somalia and activities of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), at its 1173rd meeting.

The session commences with the opening remark of the Chairperson of the PSC for September, Churchill Ewumbue Monono, Permanent Representative of Cameroon to the AU, followed by a statement from Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS). It is expected that the PSC will receive briefing from Souef Mohamed El-Amine, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission for Somalia and Head of ATMIS. Others that may also deliver statement include the representatives of the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

Tomorrow’s session will address a number of issues. The first of these relates to the preparations for the drawdown of ATMIS in accordance with the phased timeline set for the transfer of responsibility from ATMIS to Somalia Security Forces (SSF) and eventual withdrawal of ATMIS by December 2024. The second drawdown in accordance with the phased timeline is scheduled to take place by the end of this month. This is expected to involve the withdrawal of 3000 ATMIS troops.

During tomorrow’s session, the PSC is expected to hear from the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of ATMIS about the state of preparedness of ATMIS for the drawdown. On 31 July, the top military commanders of ATMIS held a four-day meeting in Mogadishu both to evaluate the first drawdown and to plan the second drawdown. The meeting thus deliberated on the FOBs that will be handed over to the government of Somalia under Phase two. During the 27 August joint visit to Baidoa in the South West State, ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in Charge of Logistics and Support, Maj. Gen. Muteti, who also leads the ATMIS technical evaluation committee, confirmed that ‘preparations are at an advance stage to drawdown 3000 ATMIS troops’. Earlier this week, El-Amine, the Head of ATMIS, along with the Under-Secretary-General of UN Department of Operational Support undertook a mission to Dhusamareb to review preparations for the second phase of the withdrawal of troops. El-Amine also held a meeting with President Hassan Shiekh Mohamed of Somalia for updating him on the second phase of ATIMS drawdown and the technical assessment of the first drawdown.

The second drawdown is also premised on not only the identification of the 3000 troops to be withdrawn but also the generation of forces by Somalia for taking over security responsibilities from the departing ATMIS troops. It would be of interest to the PSC to be updated on the preparations of SSF for taking over responsibilities. As outlined in the CONOPs, the FGS is expected to generate forces in each phase of the mission along with the phased drawdown of ATMIS. ATMIS drawdown and force generation by the FGS will take place concurrently. Accordingly, the FGS would generate 3,850 security forces at the end of the first phase, whereas 8,525 forces would be generated in the second phase. In other words, while ATMIS withdraws a total of 5,000 troops at the end of phase two, the FGS is envisaged to generate more than 12,000 forces. Yet, taking over security responsibility from ATMIS requires more than generating the requisite number of soldiers. It requires making those soldiers fit for purposes of both fighting Al-Shabaab and significantly holding and stabilizing territories freed from the terrorist group. It is thus imperative that they are equipped with the necessary logistics, technical capacities and financial provisions as well as workable command and control and political and military strategy that has firm support of both the federal government and federal member states.

There seem to be doubts about this given some of the recent setbacks in the offensive operations, which has created concerns about the risk of leaving a security vacuum that could be exploited by Al-Shabaab. The joint assessment report will be critical in understanding these challenges and informing future decisions on the ATMIS drawdown. During the negotiation on resolution 2687, some UN Security Council members were opposed to referencing December 2024 as the timeline for the mission’s final drawdown and exit because of these concerns but other members insisted on the need to state the December 2024 deadline. This is likely to be a controversial issue in the upcoming negotiations on the ATMIS mandate in December with a further drawdown of ATMIS personnel anticipated next year.

Dhusamareb, Somalia, 24 August 2023: ATMIS officials meeting with Somalia’s President. Source: ATMIS

The other issue that is expected to feature during tomorrow’s session is the ongoing offensive that the federal government in concert with local militias have initiated. The first phase of Somali-led offensives against al-Shabaab was launched between August of last year and January with Central Somalia (starting in Hirshabelle and then expanding to Galmudug state) as the main theatre of operation. It was hailed as successful, which according to some reports, enabled Somalia to reclaim one-third of its territory formerly lost to the terrorist group. In his briefing to the UN Security Council on 22 June, the Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Souef also reported that the military offensive under the leadership of SSF dislodged Al-Shabaab from over 70 locations across Somalia.

The second phase was announced at the end of March with the aim to expand the military operation toward the southern regions – Southwest and Jubaland states, but it was off to a slow start. Challenges including coordination with local leaders and communities are being encountered, leading to loss of momentum. During the past weeks, Somali security forces reportedly retreated from several areas liberated in recent months as Al-Shabaab launched deadly counter-attacks to retake lost territories. Speaking from Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug state, to galvanize support for the ongoing offensive operation, President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud vowed to continue the fight against Al-Shabaab until a final victory is achieved.

Apart from the offensive launched against Al-Shabaab, Somalia has also sought to bolster its capacity in the face of the drawdown of ATMIS via joint military operation involving the frontline states bordering Somalia. Within this framework, it was preparing to launch an offensive codenamed “Operation Black Lion” and it is banking on the support of frontline states namely Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya who pledged at a regional summit hosted by Mogadishu on 1 February to support the Somali government’s efforts. The PSC may also seek update on whether and how this planned joint operation is progressing. In this respect, one issue that deserves attention is the attacks Al-Shabaab orchestrated targeting the forward operating basis (FOBs) that ATMIS troops handed over to SSF as part of the drawdown, highlighting the need to pay attention to addressing the vulnerability of the forces taking over from ATMIS.

On the issue of Somalia’s campaign for the lifting of the arms embargo, President Mohamud attended a UN Security Council meeting on 22 June to make a strong appeal underscoring the significance of the issue to the fight against Al-Shabaab. The three African members and China supported Somalia’s request, while other Council members stressed the need for the country to strengthen its weapons and ammunition management.  Council members expect to receive during September an assessment report from the Secretary-General on progress in Somalia’s weapons and ammunition management ahead of their negotiations on the extension of the 751 Al-Shabaab sanctions regime in November.

Another important issue that deserves the attention of PSC members at tomorrow’s meeting is the security situation in Las Anod, a disputed area between Puntland and Somaliland. The region saw rising tensions since February because of fighting between Somaliland and Khatumo forces who want to be governed from Mogadishu rather than from Hargeisa. Somaliland accuses Puntland of supporting and abetting the Khatumo forces. Several days ago, renewed fighting commenced, resulting in significant casualties among Somaliland forces. Somaliland’s President Musa Bihi is now vowing to retaliate and there seems to be a major mobilization in this regard. ATMIS, IGAD, the UN, and other bilateral and international partners issued a joint statement on 27 August strongly condemning the escalating violence in Las Anod and urged all sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. They also called for an end to the mobilization of fighters and to the provision of supplies and armaments, underscoring the need to resolve all grievances and tensions peacefully and through dialogue.

The expected outcome of the session is a communiqué. The PSC is expected to commend the Government of Somalia for the ongoing operation against Al-Shabaab and for the support from ATMIS. The PSC may encourage Somalia to continue enhancing the effectiveness of its troops and the strategy for holding territories reclaimed from Al-Shabaab. The PSC may also welcome the preparations undertaken by ATMIS and Somalia for the second phase of the drawdown and may call on them to ensure that the lessons learned from the first drawdown are adequately applied in order to avoid some of the gaps observed, including in relation to the transfer of FOBs from ATMIS troops to SSF. In the light of the capacity to orchestrate attacks that Al-Shabaab continues to display and the need for averting the emergence of security vacuum, the PSC may request that the drawdown is undertaken with due regard to the need for sustaining momentum and avoiding security relapse. PSC may reiterate its support for the lifting of the arms embargo on Somalia and the need for the provision of support for expanding Somalia’s capacity in ammunition stockpile control and management. With respect to the fighting in Las Anod, the PSC may welcome the 27 August joint statement and echo the call on all parties to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and seek to resolve their disputes through negotiation.

Why African Union’s membership in the G20 matters for both the G20 and Africa

Why African Union’s membership in the G20 matters for both the G20 and Africa

Date | 11 September 2023

Solomon Ayele Dersso with contribution from Lea Mehari


On Saturday 9 2023, which coincides with the African Union (AU) Day marking the anniversary of the decision for its establishment, the G20 in its meeting in New Delhi, India announced its decision of welcoming the AU as its new member. This can be transformative in profound ways for both the AU and the G20.

Host of the G20 India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugging AU’s Chairperson Azali Assoumani

As with many key global governance multilateral platforms, Africa (despite its 55 AU member states, 1.3 billion people and resources on which developed and emerging economies depend for their economic growth) remained without seat at the G20, except the membership of South Africa.

The continent has thus largely remained receiver rather than shaper of decisions made at this global and major, but unrepresentative, forum of decision-making. With the entry of the AU, representing its 55 member states, into the G20 as a member, Africa is posed to change its status as an object of decision-making at the G20. On its part the global body enormously expanded its legitimacy and representativeness.

The G20 is a forum consisting of 19 of the most advanced and key economies plus, economically the largest regional organization, the European Union. The forum represents 75% of the world’s GDP, shaping global economic and political cooperation. Initially an informal platform to discuss international economic cooperation, it has evolved into a significant platform for global governance focusing on mobilizing policy responses to economic stability and global challenges.

By the nature of its composition, it is a body that gives the major powers and economies of the world heavy sway in global decision-making. At the same time, as a body deciding on major global economic and social issues, its role is not without consequences on the UN, as the most representative global forum for addressing global challenges. For Africa, which has the largest regional membership in the UN, the reduction of the role of the UN on account of the G20 becoming the major forum of decision-making on some of the most consequential global issues is not anything short of detrimental for its agency and representation in global economic and financial decision-making.

Without a voice at the table, Africa has thus far remained a passive receiver rather than an active contributor to discussions shaping its economic destiny. This has led to decisions that are not responsive to the needs of the countries of the region. Key initiatives, such as the G20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatment have fallen short in part due to the lack of African representation, rendering these decisions inefficient, slow, and ambiguous. Africa’s exclusion from the table also tilts the scales towards creditor nations, disproportionately affecting low-income countries within the continent.

These experiences are emblematic of how Africa’s exclusion is limiting the G20’s ability to formulate fully responsive policies even on matters of direct concern for Africa, thus limiting its capacity to devise inclusive and equitable solutions that are truly beneficial to the global community as a whole. AU’s active participation promises to ensure that G20’s policy decisions are fair for all stakeholders in the global economy: debtors and creditors.

For Africa as well, its representation through the AU would provide a platform for it to also put on the agenda of the G20 matters of concern that require international cooperation. For instance, consider the staggering illicit financial flows from Africa estimated at $88.6 billion, equivalent to 3.7 percent of Africa’s GDP, as per the United Nations estimates in 2020, encompassing revenues from unlawful activities, tax evasion, corruption, and more. This diversion of resources poses a significant impediment to economic development, hindering the progress towards both the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  Measures that could be adopted on this scourge at the level of the G20 could contribute enormously in countering this scourge, thereby contributing to availing huge resources that contribute to Africa’s development and the global goals of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Similarly, AU’s membership can also help to achieve clear strategic recognition at global level on the enormous potential of Africa to contribute to the global challenge of climate change. This the AU may achieve through, among others, facilitating understanding and clear appreciation of Africa’s enormous potential to play leading role in powering the global green transition and for developing cooperation framework for realizing this potential on a win-win basis.

The membership of the AU also provides the opportunity to redress the void created by the reduced role of the UN on economic policy making as a result of the emergence of the G20 as the main locus of international economic and development decision-making. AU’s membership would enable Africa to make up for the loss from the diminished role of the UN. It also gives Africa the opportunity to bring its standing as the largest block in the UN to bear on the work of the G20 and through that to also elevate its influence in the international financial system.

G20 leaders welcoming the announcement of AU’s membership

For AU’s membership in the G20 to harvest the expected dividends, there is a need for the AU to put in place effective structures and processes. Effective participation and influence in the G20 depend on such structures and process. In terms of representation, the decision of the AU is for the rotating Chairperson of the Union to seat on the AU seat in the G20 assisted by the AU Commission Chairperson. This essentially reflects the current practice of AU’s participation in G20 based on invitation. Yet, for this arrangement to work for the benefit of all the members of the AU, it is essential that the policy positions that the Chairperson of the AU presents at G20 are positions negotiated and adopted as common policy positions of the Union.

Beyond the representation at the G20 summit level, securing the interest of the continent through AU’s membership in the club necessitates that the AU is effectively represented in the meetings of the ministers, central bank governors and the G20 Finance Track and Sherpa Track technical working groups. Both for the participation in these key technical working groups and for helping with the development of the common positions, the AU Commission plays a key role. The AU Department of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism Industry and Minerals, properly staffed and capacitated, is best placed to play the role of the technical focal point in the AU Commission. For purposes of developing and negotiating common African policy positions both on matters on the agenda of the G20 and those that Africa wishes to advance as part of its membership in the G20 such as its vision of the reform of the multilateral financial institutions, there is a need for having a dedicated sub-committee of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee.

Considering the large number of meetings involved in G20 (over 200 such meetings were held for the G20 held in New Delhi), it is imperative that AU policy makers appreciate how AU’s membership in G20 transforms its role in global governance. The AU needs to move fast in developing a strategy for making the most out of its membership. Considering the enormity of the demand for active role, the AU also needs to articulate the capacity requirements, both at the level of the AU Commission, member states and in its representation in G20 countries, for it to fully shoulder the new and heavy responsibility in global governance that its membership in the G20 brings with it. Beyond AU actors, the role of the UN Economic Community for Africa, the African Development Bank and policy research organizations also needs to be effectively harnessed.

In the current multipolar world, the G20 needs Africa just as much as, if not more than, Africa needs the G20. With Africa’s full engagement, the G20 can reinvent itself and prevent the risk of the emerging decline of its relevance, particularly in the face of the increasing significance of BRICS. AU’s membership would be of enormous strategic consequence for global governance not just in terms of representation of Africa but also its potential to contribute to repurposing the G20 to be the vehicle for building a fairer, more prosperous, and sustainable world by leveraging multilateral bodies including the UN.

The content of this article does not represent the views of Amani Africa and reflect only the personal views of the authors who contribute to ‘Ideas Indaba’

Emergency session on the situation in Gabon

Emergency session on the situation in Gabon

Date | 31 August 2023

Today (31 August) at 3 pm East African Time, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is scheduled to convene an emergency meeting on the coup in Gabon.

On 30 August military officers appearing on national television announced the ouster of the government of the incumbent President Ali Bongo. The coup was announced soon after the announcement of the results of the general elections that Gabon held on 26 August. In the early hours of 30 August, the Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) announced the results of the presidential elections, declaring that the incumbent Ali Bongo the winner of the Presidential Election with 64.27 % of the votes cast.

The processes leading up to the announcement of the results were clouded with uncertainties, disputations and concerns about the transparency and credibility of the elections. While the leader of the opposition coalition Albert Ondo Ossa claimed victory in the elections, in the days ahead of the announcement of the election the opposition camp reported that the election was a ‘fraud orchestrated by Ali Bongo and his supporters’. This allegation came after the imposition of a curfew and the shutting down of the internet in the country by the government, thereby raising concerns that these measures were taken to create conditions for tampering with the election results.

The elections were indeed held under circumstances that cast doubt on the possibility of ensuring the credibility and transparency of the elections in a manner that reflects the will of the electorate. Election observers, including AU observers, were not welcomed. Some media outlets were suspended. The government also cut internet service and imposed a night-time curfew nationwide after the poll.

It is against this background that the military officers announced the seizure of power.  Explaining their action, the senior military officers, self-styled as the ‘Committee of the Transition and the Restoration of Institutions, who seized power said that ‘[i]n the name of the Gabonese people … we have decided to defend the peace by putting an end to the current regime.’

Some members of the government were also arrested including the son of the president, Noureddine Bongo Valentin, the chief advisor of the president and his deputy, two other presidential advisors and two top officials of the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG). The military also put the ousted president under house arrest. Following the coup, the internet was restored. Yet, the coup makers maintained the nightly curfew imposed in place.

On the same day, the coup makers named General Brice Oligui Ngueme as the leader of the transition. General Ngueme, as head of the President’s Republican Guard, is not someone who is an outsider but very much internal to the regime. This signifies that while the coup removed the leader, the regime remains intact and in power.

As with other recent situations in countries that experienced coups, the ouster of Bongo was also greeted with celebrations from people. While the coup ushers in the end of a government that was in power for decades and opens a possibility for change, it does not provide a politically legitimate avenue for addressing the irregularities associated with the elections. In this respect, it would be of interest for the PSC to address the disputed elections including the convening of inclusive consultations with the opposition presidential candidates and the political parties for developing a roadmap for the convening of free and fair elections.

The AU Commission Chairperson issued a statement on the same day. Indicating that the chairperson was following the situation with great concern, the statement expressed his strong condemnation of ‘the attempted coup d’état’. He also encouraged ‘all political, civil and military actors in Gabon to give priority to peaceful political avenues and a rapid return to democratic constitutional order in the country.’ Similarly, the Secretary-General of the UN also firmly condemned ‘the ongoing coup attempt’ and expressed his ‘strong opposition to military coups.’

The PSC will make a determination on the application of Article 30 of the Constitutive Act within the framework of Article 7(1)(g) of the PSC Protocol. In light of the electoral crisis that preceded the coup, one of the issues for the PSC is how to facilitate a process that leads to not only the convening of free and credible elections, but also the building of fully functioning constitutional rule in Gabon.

The expected outcome of the session is a communique. The PSC may welcome the statement of the Chairperson of the Commission and express its condemnation of the coup pursuant to the AU norms banning coups including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG). The PSC may also decide to suspend Gabon from participation in the AU activities in accordance with Article 30 of the Constitutive Act and ACDEG. The PSC may express its concern about the recurrence of the holding of elections of questionable legitimacy and credibility and the need for African States to ensure that they create the space and mechanisms for ensuring that elections are held in accordance with the parameters set in ACDEG. With specific reference to the situation in Gabon, the PSC may call for the convening of consultation with the opposition political parties and presidential candidates to agree on a roadmap for the transition and the convening of free and fair elections. The PSC may also call for the removal of the military from politics and the establishment of an inclusive civilian transitional authority. It may also request in this respect that an AU high-level facilitator be designated with the responsibility of facilitating dedicated engagement for ensuring an inclusive civilian transition. The PSC may finally call for respect to ACDEG and respect for the rights of citizens including leaders and members of the opposition.

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of September 2023

Provisional Programme of Work for the Month of September 2023

Date | 31 August 2023

For the month of September, Cameroon takes over the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) from Burundi. The PSC’s Provisional Programme of Work of the month, prepared under the guidance of the incoming Chairperson, includes six substantive sessions. While two sessions will address country-specific issues, the remaining four will cover thematic topics. Except for one session that will be held at the ministerial level, all the sessions will be held at the ambassadorial level. The PoW for the month also envisages that PSC will be on a mission to Mozambique for the commemoration of the Amnesty Month.

As the next phase of the drawdown of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) approaches, the first session of the PSC, scheduled for 7 September focusing on conflict specific situation, is dedicated to an updated briefing on the situation in Somalia and the activities of ATMIS. It is to be recalled that the first drawdown of ATMIS troops, following the initial extension on the request of the Government of Somalia, took place last June. It is anticipated according to the timeline for the drawdown that the second drawdown that will involve the departure of 3000 troops will take place at the end of September. This session is expected to hear from the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and Head of ATMIS about the state of preparedness of ATMIS for the drawdown. Related to the drawdown, UN Security Council Resolution 2687 [S/RES/2687(2023)] envisaged the conduct of a technical review by the AU and Somalia to evaluate the progress of the initial withdrawal. ATMIS is also expected to provide update on this review, whose conclusions are expected to be released by 15 September. Additionally, the session will also receive update from Somalia as well as ATMIS on the security situation in Somalia including the ongoing offensive operations against Al Shabaab and the readiness of Somalia security forces to shoulder the security responsibilities from ATMIS troops that will be departing as part of the drawdown. In light of the violent clashes in LasAnod, the PSC may also use the session to seek briefing on the nature and scale of the crisis and how the AU including through ATMIS may facilitate the resolution of the conflict.

With September as the Amnesty month, the next activity of the PSC involves the commemoration of Africa Amnesty Month, which is planned to take place from 11 to 13 August in Maputo, Mozambique. While Africa Amnesty Month has been commemorated by the PSC every September since 2017, in line with the decision of the AU Assembly adopted at its 29th Ordinary Session [Assembly/AU/Dec. 645 (XXIX)] and at 14th Extraordinary Session, [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)], it is in 2022 that the PSC started to mark the annual event outside of Addis Ababa through various symbolic activities including collection and burning of weapons and arms. Beyond the symbolic activities, the Amnesty Month also serves to highlight the role of illicit arms and weapons as major drivers of conflicts and insecurity in Africa. The PSC may also use the mission as an occasion for canvasing the current state of the conflict involving terrorist groups in the Cabo Delgado province and to interact with representatives of the Southern Africa Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).

On 18 September, the PSC is scheduled to hold the second substantive session of the month. It is expected that the PSC will receive a briefing on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) report, the trend of maritime crimes in the region has decreased in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. Despite this hopeful trend, the Gulf of Guinea remains to be the main locus for maritime insecurity in Africa. Apart from reviewing the state of maritime security in this region, this session also serves as an occasion for following up on previous decisions of the PSC on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. In this regard, the last time the PSC discussed maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea was at its 1128th session held on 19 December 2022. At that session, the PSC tasked the AU Commission to convene a meeting to facilitate the establishment of a body of experts or task force to coordinate and share knowledge on maritime security, and to plan the First Regional Maritime Command Post Exercise to enhance naval preparedness and collaboration within the African Standby Force (ASF) and Combined Maritime Task Force (CMTF) frameworks. Therefore, the PSC is expected to follow up on these requests during the upcoming session. In addition, the upcoming session is expected to assess the implementation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct to explore challenges and determine the most effective utilization of accessible resources.

Another key thematic session of the PSC scheduled for 20 September, which would also be a signature event for Cameroon as Chairperson of the PSC, is envisaged to focus on military-civil relations in Africa in enhancing conflict prevention mechanisms. This would be the first time for Council to convene a session committed to this specific issue, although the issue arises in relation to various contexts. The issue of civil-military relationship brings to the centre of attention not only the issue of ensuring the republican character and the allegiance of the security forces to the national constitution but also that of bringing the instrument of violence under effective civilian oversight on the basis of constitutionally established rules and processes. Considering the danger arising from exposing the army to partisan politics, the session may also address the issues of the politicization of the military which on various occasions led to the intrusion of the military in politics and that of situations of instability leading to the militarization of politics. These issues have become particularly salient for current peace and security policy making in the context of the resurgence of military coups in the continent throughout 2021-2023, the session is expected to highlight the issue of UCGs during discussions. It is worth noting that in various sessions addressing UCG in concerned member states, and during the Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Change of Governments held on May 28, 2022, the PSC has repeatedly stressed the importance of military non-intervention in politics. Other issues of significance in considering civil-military relations involve the military’s professionalism, including its adherence to codes of conduct and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

On 23 September, the PSC will convene its fourth substantive session, which is also the only session that will be held at the ministerial level. This session will consider the financing of AU peace support operations. The session will be held in New York on the side-lines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting. The last time the PSC discussed the topic was during its 1153rd session. At that meeting, the PSC requested the AUC to increase the ceiling of the Crisis Reserve Facility (CRF), use the AU Peace Fund to fill the current financial gap in the ATMIS, and expedite the establishment of the Peace Fund Secretariat, including its governance structure. Additionally, the PSC requested the development of modalities for enhanced AU-UN joint work, including collaborative planning and mandating processes.

The next session scheduled for 27 September involves engagement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on post-Malabo Extraordinary Summit on Humanitarian issues. It is expected that the session will review the follow up on the outcomes of the Humanitarian Summit, particularly regarding funding, institutional cooperation, and the 10-year AU Humanitarian Agenda. Additionally, the PSC’s discussion on this session could benefit the existing situations across the continent. One such instance is the situation in Sudan. According to the UNHCR, as of July 21, 2023, more than 3.3 million people have been displaced and the estimated number of refugees could reach 860,000 by October 2023. It would be not only a missed opportunity but also a dereliction of duty that the situation in Sudan, including the atrocities and grave humanitarian emergency in Darfur, has not attracted dedicated attention for a while.

On 29 September, for its final substantive and second country-specific session, the PSC is expected to receive an updated briefing on the political transitions in Guinea and Mali. For this session, the PSC is expected to receive updates on its key actionable decisions from its 1162nd and 1106th sessions. The PSC held a session dealing with Guinea and Mali on 20 July 2023 at its 1162nd meeting within the ambit of the Situation in the Sahel, where it considered and expressed concern over the withdrawal of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) from Mali and the risks of reversal of the gains made in the implementation of Mali’s 2015 Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. As it welcomed progress made in the transitional process, the PSC also urged the transitional authorities in Guinea and Mali to resume engagements with the Economic Commission for Western African States (ECOWAS) mandated mediators. Furthermore, it is recalled that on its 1106th meeting on 19 September 2022, the PSC had a session designated to receive briefings on particular Sahelian countries, including Guinea and Mali. For Guinea, it had called for the transitional authorities to conduct transparent and impartial investigations on the reports of the use of coercive measures that jeopardize fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as on the operationalization of the Monitoring Mechanism on the Transition in Guinea from its decision on 10 September 2021. Regarding Mali, the PSC had urged the fulfillment of pledges of support for the Malian Transition.

In the light of the reports of military coup taking place in Gabon on 30 August, the PSC may also convene a session on the situation in Gabon.

In footnote, the Program of Work also envisages a press statement will be issued marking the international day of peace on 21 September.

In addition to the activities of the PSC, the program of work also lists activities of the Military Staff Committee (MSC) and the Committee of Experts (CoE). The MSC will convene a meeting on 5 August for the consideration of the Code of Conduct on Military-Civil Relationship. The CoE will meet on 14 August for the preparation of the 8th Informal Joint Seminar and the 17th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the PSC and UNSC.

Amani Africa wishes to express its gratitude to the Australian Embassy in Ethiopia for the support in the production of this Insight on the Monthly Programme of Work of the AU Peace and Security Council

Monthly Digest on The African Union Peace And Security Council - July 2023

Monthly Digest on The African Union Peace And Security Council - July 2023

Date | July 2023

In the month of July, Senegal chaired the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). The PSC conducted a total of five sessions, three of which focused on thematic issues, while the other two addressed country/region-specific situations. The sessions were conducted at the ambassadorial level, except for one ministerial level session.

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