Somali and international efforts have shifted to planning for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to transition directly Somali security forces without an interim UN mission. The implementation of the Transition Plan will require new institutions, processes, and commitment to good governance, changing the Somali state and providing lessons for security sector reform. AMISOM’s eventual exit will influence how the AU and the UN mandate and authorize future missions.
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In an interview with the Africa Center, Simon Mulongo, deputy to the AU Commission in Mogadishu, says that AMISOM’s gains could never have been realized if it had continued to rely on the traditional peacekeeping template.
Responding to budgetary constraints, the European Union announced in January 2016 that it would decrease the amount of AMISOM contingent stipends from $1,028 per troop per month to $822 per month. The EU’s decision has motivated AMISOM leadership, along with EU and other partners, to develop a clearer strategy for AMISOM’s eventual withdrawal, including an increased focus on building the capacity of Somali security forces. The international community must find ways to avoid overburdening the EU, whose monthly support to AMISOM has increased from €5 million per month in 2010 to €25 million per month in 2017, so that donor fatigue does not contribute to mission failure.
Oversight, accountability, and governance of the security sector are essential ingredients to a capable and effective force, mitigating infractions and contributing to a learning environment that improves future practices.
African-led peace operations have been vital tools for managing Africa’s complex array of security challenges, though continued reform is needed to intervene more decisively in the continent’s most devastating conflicts.
The Role of Parliamentary Committees in Building Accountable, Sustainable, and Professional Security Sectors
Parliamentary committees that oversee the security sector play an essential role in building accountable, sustainable, transparent, and professional institutions.
Cutting off al Shabaab’s estimated $100 million in extortion-generated annual revenue will require restoring the integrity of Somalia’s compromised financial, judicial, and intelligence agencies.
The spike in militant Islamist group violence in Africa has been marked by a 68-percent increase in fatalities involving civilians, highlighting the need for more population-centric stabilization strategies.
Loss of munitions and other lethal materiel from African armed forces and peace operations is a key factor sustaining militant groups driving instability on the continent.
Extremist group violence against civilians is driven by context-specific factors—outgroup grievances, intimidation to control territory, and a response to heavy-handed security responses—that require enhanced community-level mitigation and military professionalism.
Sixteen years of a militarized approach toward al Shabaab has resulted in a stalemate. Negotiation between the two sides has yet to be explored in earnest. There are several barriers impeding negotiations, and there would need to be sufficient deterrents (such as limiting al Shabaab’s ability to extract taxes from the population) and incentives (such as ensuring that the Somali government can make good on its promises) to keep the parties engaged. Nevertheless, negotiations must be on the table.
A preponderance of COVID vaccine myths is causing many Africans to forego vaccinations at a time when new, more transmissible coronavirus variants are spreading across the continent.