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U.S. ASSISTANCE TO THE AFRICAN UNION
The U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU) was established in December 2006, making the United States the first non-African country to establish a separate diplomatic mission to the AU. Our goal is to partner with the African Union to strengthen democratic institutions; promote peace and stability; support sustainable economic development through increased trade, investment, and agricultural production; and improve opportunities in Africa. Our assistance to the AU advances all four pillars, supporting the following selected projects:
Peace and Security
AU Mission Support: The United States has provided more than $1 billion to support the AU Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and its troop contributors with equipment, logistics, advisory support, and training to counter al-Shabaab forces and create conditions for political processes. We have also provided more than $100 million of support to the AU’s mission to restore stability in the Central African Republic.
Operational Capability and Capacity Development: The Department of Defense (USAFRICOM) provides multinational training venues at staff and troop levels designed to improve readiness, promote interoperability, build capacity, strengthen partner relationships and enhance co-operation on regional security issues.
Peace Support Operations Financing: In support of the AU’s decision to fund 25 percent of AU peace support operations, the United States worked with UN Security Council members to unanimously pass UNSC Resolution 2320, to strengthen AU-UN relations and open discussions on a framework to finance the remaining 75 percent of eligible operations through UN-assessed contributions, providing more reliable financing and increased transparency, and greater compliance with international human rights and conduct and discipline standards.
Continental Early Warning System (CEWS): The United States provides technical assistance to the AU CEWS team that engages in “horizon scanning” and regular assessments of vulnerabilities to predict potential conflicts on the continent. Additionally, a State Department expert is working at CEWS to coordinate an early warning task force between various AU Departments to address the cross-cutting issues of conflict prevention.
Women, Peace and Security (WPS): In 2016, USAU solidified a collaborative relationship with the AU Special Envoy for WPS and developed a two year implementation plan to increase Member State accountability on WPS through a U.S. Government-funded Continental Results Framework. The relationship with the Special Envoy has expanded to include bilateral collaborations in Member States experiencing conflict or gender-based violence.
Democracy and Governance
Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS): The United States provided $3.3 million over three years to support staffing, equipment, supplies, travel, and other anticipated costs associated with the HCSS. The U.S. Government remains closely engaged with the AU Commission to build political momentum toward the creation of the HCSS and support for effective justice mechanisms in South Sudan.
Democracy and Electoral Assistance: The United States provided technical assistance to support the launch of the Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, which coordinates AU participation in election observation, and also implements the AU Commission’s program for the promotion of democracy on the continent.
PROLAW: Outstanding AU professionals, including from the AU’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), are selected for a year-long course of study in Loyola University’s PROLAW program, earning a Masters of Law in Rule of Law. Professors at the PROLAW program also conduct capacity-building seminars for the OLC.
Fulbright Clinton Fellows: USAU has supported the Department of Political Affairs with Fulbright Clinton Fellows who worked at the AU on issues of governance and democratization. Their efforts included work on CEWS.
Economic Growth, Trade, and Investment
Boosting Intra-African Trade: Under the framework of the AU Continental Free Trade Area, the United States supported strategic planning and dialogue among key development partners and AU constituents through the production of two Boosting Intra-African Trade stocktaking analyses.
Trade in Services: The United States, together with other international partners, supported the development of a compendium of Trade in Services case studies that provided new and under-explored information on this emerging area of trade in Africa. The United States is collaborating with the AU on the Services Development Program, focusing on regulatory audits and best practices for trade in services on the continent.
Power Africa: The United States provides technical assistance to the AU’s Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF), which makes geothermal energy projects more viable by assisting with financing for initial exploration and infrastructure. We are exploring the feasibility of a complementary private-sector facility, which would help successful GRMF projects move to the next level.
Cybersecurity: The United States and the AU conducted a series of workshops across the continent that raised awareness of cybersecurity and cybercrime issues among AU Member States, many of which had previously had little exposure to the concepts. We also facilitated a joint report from the AU and a US company on cyber threats in Africa, which will inform discussions about cybersecurity on the continent.
Agricultural Productivity and Trade: The United States is providing the AUC with institutional and technical support to facilitate Malabo Declaration goals to enhance agricultural productivity, increase investment in agriculture, reduce poverty and hunger, boost agriculture trade, and promote the ideals of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program. We are also supporting efforts to increase the volume of AGOA-eligible agricultural exports to the United States.
Opportunity and Development
Ebola Response: With the outbreak of the Ebola crisis in West Africa, the United States provided $10 million to the ground-breaking AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa mission, which deployed African health workers and delivered supplies, medical equipment, and other logistical assistance to affected communities.
Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC): The United States committed $10 million in a multi-year effort to supply technical support, two U.S. CDC advisors, a fully equipped Emergency Operations Center in Addis Ababa, and 10 U.S. CDC-trained African epidemiologist fellows, the first staff of the Africa CDC.
Youth Empowerment: Together the United States and the AU have successfully implemented numerous youth professional development activities such as exchange programs (YALI, IVLP, Fulbright-Clinton), strengthened educational opportunities (Technical Vocational Education and Training, leveraging FabLabs) and increased young professional opportunities (African Union Youth Volunteer Corps, African Union Leadership Academy). The United States also supported the creation of data-based educational policies to ensure proper linkages with anticipated labor market needs through Labor Market Information Systems.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: In 2016 USAU established and is now co-leading a multi-partner coordination platform to increase focus on mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the AUC, and implement targeted programming on the continent.
Strategic Development Alliances: The United States assisted the African Union in the creation of its public-private partnerships system, in support of the AU’s goal to improve its funding sustainability and include the private sector in continental development programs.
The United States also supports the AU through assessed contributions to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU), and other UN organs and agencies that provide technical support and capacity enhancement to the AU. The U.S. Ambassador to the AU is also accredited to UNECA.