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The Future of African Peace Operations: Time to Adjust the Operational Design

By Walter Lotze In 2015, the African Standby Force (ASF), a key component of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is meant to reach full operational capability. More than a decade ago, in line with the growing political ambitions of African states to play a stronger role in relation to peace and security on the continent, African Union (AU) members decided to establish their own rapidly deployable, multi-dimensional peace operations capability. Despite significant progress attained the development of the ASF has been uneven over the course of the past decade. Unsatisfied with these delays, African states through the African Union (AU) Assembly in 2013 mandated the establishment of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), intended to provide the AU with a quick reaction force, as a temporary stop-gap until the ASF was ready. Neither the ASF nor the ACIRC however will be able to provide Africa sufficiently with the peace support operations capabilities it requires. What is needed therefore is an adjustment of the operational design for African peace support operations which better corresponds to the realities and needs of the African continent.

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