How to Spend it: New EU Funding for African Peace and Security

The European Union (EU) has been a critical donor to the African Union’s (AU) conflict prevention efforts, providing funding through the African Peace Facility (APF) since 2004. In 2021, as part of an overhaul of its foreign policy funds, the EU and its member states will dismantle the APF and channel the resources that once flowed through it into two more flexible successor vehicles. While this structural change will allow the EU to continue playing a key role in supporting conflict prevention in Africa, it also creates certain risks, including that Brussels might use these new instruments in a way that entrenches a trend toward over-militarised responses to regional conflicts. This report analyses potential opportunities and risks that the new EU funding structure could present for AU-EU cooperation and for African peace and security more broadly. It then offers recommendations for the structure’s responsible implementation. With the December 2020 political agreement on the establishment of the European Peace Facility (one of the APF’s successor funds) and negotiations over its implementation in Africa about to start in Brussels and member states, and with preparations under way for the next AU-EU summit, scheduled for the first half of 2021, the report aims to inform the debate around these issues in Africa and Europe. The report builds on previous Crisis Group research on AU-EU relations and UN-assessed contributions for African peace support operations. It also draws from interviews conducted from January to December 2020 with EU and AU officials and member state representatives in Addis Ababa and Brussels, as well as civil society experts in Europe and Crisis Group’s field staff in the Sahel, Lake Chad basin and Horn of Africa.