Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2015 Publish Date: Aug. 10, 2015 Pages: 450-457

The "African Solutions for African Problems": Challenges for the African Standby Force (ASF)

Yohannes Tekalign Beza*

Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia


Kwame Nkrumah’s Pan-African dream of establishing African High Command meant to protect the newly created post-colonial African states in 1961 did not borne fruit because most of African states opposed and rejected it due to the perceived threat it posed on their sovereignty. However, the failure of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) dealing with the prolonged conflicts in the continent, the horrific Rwandan genocide incident of 1994, and the belief that without peace, development and prosperity could not take root in Africa provided reasons for the shift from the OAU to the African Union (AU) in 2001 and revived Nkrumah’s idea of African wide security force, which eventually brought to existence the African Standby Force (ASF) in 2002. Since then the ASF has achieved some successes in responding timely to conflicts in Africa despite the fact that its efforts were largely concealed by various challenges that it faced. Research works that have so far been done in the subject lack inclusiveness in terms of what constitute these challenges. In line with such gap, the analysis of the data obtained from the literature, confirms that the challenges that the ASF grappled with range from political, financial, material to technical.


African Standby Force, Organization of African Unity, African Union, Challenge, Success

1. Introduction

The idea of establishing an African military force preceded the African Union’s (AU) predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). As a pioneer of the idea, Kwame Nkrumah proposed the establishment of African High Command in 1961 which was meant to protect the newly created post-colonial African states (Murithi, 2005; Walraven, 1999). However, his subsequent proposals calling for a continental wide military force that could even intervene in intra-and-inter-states conflicts could not bear fruit due to the perceived indirect threat it posed on states’ sovereignty (Murithi, 2005). As a result, the idea of an African security force could not be materialized under the OAU despite the establishment of the Defense Commission meant to coordinate the defense policies of member states and look into the prospects of establishing an Africa security system (OAU, 1963, Art. 3.3).

The OAU’s inability to provide better life for the African people and to deal with the protracted conflicts that have consumed millions of African lives and resources coupled with the reluctance of external forces to respond timely to the crises such as in Somalia and to rebuff the horrific incident that happened in Rwanda in 1994 provided reasons for the shift from OAU to AU in 2001 (Bachemann, 2011; Feldman, 2008; Yoh, 2008). The shift driven by an ‘African Renaissance’, spearheaded by few African leaders, was marked by ‘African solutions for African problems’ with the issues of peace and security at its core (Bachemann, 2011). To this end, the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has been established with the African Standby Force (ASF) as its part meant to respond to "conflict and crisis situations in Africa timely and efficiently" (PSC Protocol, Art. 2.1). In this regard, this piece argues that despite significant successes that have been achieved setting in motion the ASF, its ability to respond timely to crises and conflicts in Africa has been hampered by various constraints. The study thus tries to illustrate the evolution and successes of the ASF and identify the constraints that hampered the ASF’s ability to timely respond to conflicts in Africa. Accordingly, it is structured into three parts excluding the introduction and conclusion, the evolution and development of the ASF, its successes, and the constraints that hindered it to respond timely to conflicts and crises in Africa will be discussed subsequently.

2. The African Standby Force (ASF)

The end of the Cold War has left its scourge on Africa. The tragic conflicts that took place in the 1990s such as in Angola, Burundi, DRC, Liberia, Rwanda (the genocide), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda resulted in the deaths of millions of Africans and the destruction of resources (Adedeji, 1999). The OAU’s inability to promote and achieve development, democracy, human rights and security to African people; to intervene sufficiently in the series of unfolding crises in Africa; and the reluctance of the UN to deploy peace keeping forces in Africa (owing to politics and the expensive nature of the operations) so as to respond timely to conflicts in Africa with the attendant horrific Rwandan genocide of 1994 provided sufficient reasons for African leaders to revitalize the OAU into the AU with new mandates and structures to allow it to be an institutional devise for "African solutions for African problems" (Kasumba and Debrah, 2010). This is the reason why it is underlined in the Constitutive Act of the AU that:

1.   "The scourge of conflicts in Africa constitutes a major barrier to the socio-economic development of the continent and of the need to promote peace, security and stability" (the Preamble);

2.   "The right of the Union to intervene in a Member State in grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity" (Art. 4 (h)); and

3.   "A common defense policy for the African Continent" (Art. 4 (d) (AU, 2000).

The call for "Africa solutions for African problems" has accorded primacy for issues of peace and security. This is primarily due to:

1.   The need for reacting swiftly to conflicts and not to let genocide happen elsewhere in Africa as it happened in Rwanda in 1994;

2.   The desire to evade heavy reliance on the UN that is hindered by political and institutional burden to timely respond to African conflicts;

3.   The belief that without peace, development and prosperity could not take root in Africa; and

4.   The awareness that Africa could potentially attract foreign investments and aids when it creates durable peace and stable environment by its own (Marshall, 2009).

Cognizant of these, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) was established in 2002 as the Union’s "standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts" that operates as "a collective security and early-warning arrangement to facilitate timely and efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa" (PSC Protocol, Art. 2.1).The Protocol is the base at which the African Union Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is erected. The APSA is meant to provide the necessary means to fulfill the tasks set out in the Constitutive Act and the Protocol establishing the PSC (PSC Protocol, Art. 2).

The APSA as an operational structure is meant to execute decisions taken by African leaders mixing together key and interconnected elements that are concerned with:

1.   Political decision-making (PSC);

2.   Mediation and advisory capacity (the Panel of the Wise);

3.   The gathering and analysis of information (the Continental Early Warning System);

4.   Peace support operations (PSO) capacity (the African Standby Force and the Military Staff Committee); and

5.   A Special Fund (PSC Protocol, Art.2.2).

Figure 1. The African Union Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

Source: Vines and Middleton (2008)

In the APSA, the PSC is "the sole authority for mandating and terminating AU peace missions and operations" whose political command and control is vested in the Chairperson of the Commission "who should then submit periodic reports to the PSC on the progress of implementation of the relevant mandates of such operations and missions" (AU, 2003: 25). As a rapid force meant to be deployed in cases where there is perceived or actual conflicts or to intervene in respect of grave circumstances as envisaged in the Constitutive Act of the AU (Art. 4, h and j), the ASF offers the AU with a means of timely responding to conflicts and for the first time a common position and action plan for the development of its PSO capacity (De Coning, 2007).

The ASF is not a monolithic African army but a set of sub-regional standby arrangements that are established through member states’ pledges and along with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) including the Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western African sub-regional standby forces (Kasumba and Debrah, 2010). The ASF is "composed of standby multidisciplinary contingents, with civilian and military components in their countries of origin and ready for rapid deployment at appropriate notice." It is intended to enable the AU to respond to a wide range of contingencies from observation and monitoring missions, to preventive deployments, humanitarian assistance missions, peace-building operations, and intervention in a member state in grave circumstances (PSC Protocol, Art. 13 (1 and 3)).

Each state in the sub-region should establish a contingent of the ASF and all standby forces in the sub-regions can be used for operations across sub-regions as it is suggested that if member states of that sub-regions lack such capacity "encouragement be given to potential lead nations to form coalition of the willing as a stop-gap arrangement pending the establishment of regional standby forces arrangement" (AU, 2003: 17). Each sub-region is also expected to establish as an entry point standby force at brigade level with 5000 troops per sub-region making the overall number of the ASF troops about 20,000 (Girmachew, 2008). In quick response to war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity it is suggested that potential lead nations should be identified "with standing deployable Headquarters capacity of greater than brigade level, and with forces that are capable of seizing points of entry, ideally using airborne or airmobile assets" (AU, 2003: 17).

The ASF establishment takes two phases. The first phase is designed to be till 30 June 2005 with the AU to establish a strategic level management capacity for the management of Scenarios 1-2 missions (see the table below) that is to be matched by RECs establishing regional standby forces up to a brigade size to achieve up to Scenario 4. The second phase ranges from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2010and it is envisaged that by the year 2010, the AU would have developed the capacity to manage complex peacekeeping operations and the RECs will continue to develop the capacity to deploy a Mission Headquarters (HQs) for Scenario 4, involving AU/ Regional peacekeeping forces (AU, 2005: 2). Inability to make ASF fully operational as it planned to be by 2010 justifies its third phase extended from 2011-2015 (Vines, 2013). It was suggested that the ASF doctrine, planning and operational procedures & training standards should be based on those of the UN (AU, 2003, 2005).

Table 1. The ASF Mission Scenarios and Timelines for Development.

Scenario Description Deployment Requirement(Form mandate resolution )
1. AU/Regional military advice to a political mission 30 Days
2. AU/Regional observer mission co-deployed with UN Mission 30 Days
3. Stand-alone AU/Regional observer mission 30 Days
4. AU Peacekeeping force for Chapter V1 and Preventive Deployment  Mission  (and Peace Building) 30 days
5. AU Peacekeeping Force for complex multidimensional Peace Keeping Missions including those involving low level spoilers 90 days with the military component being able to deploy in 30 days
6. AU intervention, e.g. in genocide cases where the international community does not act promptly. 14 days with robust military force

Source: AU (2003: 3-7)

3. The Successes of the African Standby Force (ASF)

Since its establishment in 2003, the ASF has exhibited a great deal of progress and successes in responding timely to conflicts in Africa. African leaders’ desire and commitment that is seen both in the establishment of the APSA with the ASF at its center (the PSC Protocol, Art. 2) and the elaboration of various documents intended to "provide the technical and conceptual basis and the regulatory setup for the operation of the ASF" (Solomon, 2010: 12) could be seen as one of perhaps the most important achievement of the ASF. Besides, the decentralization of the ASF to the five RECs meant to offer regional actors responsibility of ownership of regional security matters supposedly to enhance efficiency could amount to the success of the ASF (Dier, 2010). The exhaustion and thus reluctance of the UN to involve in peacekeeping missions in Africa, which resulted in channeling resources in the form of training and finance to the ASF from multilateral donors (such as the UN and EU) and bilateral donors (Germany, France & Britain) (Bachemann, 2011) is also positively contributed in strengthening the ASF.

Moreover, the capacity built-up due to internal initiatives and external assistance helped the AU:

1.   To let all the regional brigades save the NARC to conduct various training and joint exercise meant to enhance their operational readiness (Solomon, 2010);

2.   To develop the West, South and East African regional standby forces capabilities to conduct peace support operations up to and including scenario 4 (Kinzel, 2008); and

3.   To activate the ASF and mandate it incessantly the deployment of missions react to violent conflicts in Burundi (AMIB), Darfur (AMIS), Somalia (AMISOM), the CAR (FOMUC), Comoros (AMISEC) and Mali (AFISMA) (Lotze, 2013; Svensson, 2008; Vines, 2013) though the effectiveness of such missions are largely obscured by the challenges presented below.

African states have also increasingly become willing to deploy their personnel to African-led missions and UN peacekeeping operations, their number rose from one (i.e. Burundi) in the first AMISOM in 2007 to 13 in the Mali (AFISMA) in 2013 and their contribution from 1700 personnel (military and civilian) to 40,641 that were mandated to serve in the AU missions beside the 30,424 joint AU-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID (Vines, 2013). Besides, the AU has responded against the LRA launched in 2012 by AU-led Regional Cooperation Initiative/ RCI-LRA (Vines, 2013). Jointly working in the planning and decision making process has also slowly become a trend among the AU, RECs/ RMs, EU and UN (Lotze, 2013).

4. Challenges for the African Standby Force (ASF)

Despite the above successes, many factors have contributed to the ineffectiveness of the ASF and its inability to timely respond to conflicts in Africa that ranges from political and structural, legal and conceptual, finance and resources, to technical barriers. Constituting the central issues of the study, these barriers are thoroughly examined below forming two headings.

4.1. Political and Structural Barrier

Despite the political commitment of the AU/African states to establish ASF, its ability to respond timely to crisis in Africa was seriously hampered by political and structural hurdles. The first is lack of political will and commitment of African states to mandate deployment of peace support missions whenever the need arises because their actions depend on their own national interests and the political dynamics surrounding such interests in the PSC (Solomon, 2010) as it was seen in the reluctance and lateness of missions deployment in countries such as Burundi, CRA and South Sudan (Lotze, 2013). African states have divergent interests to deploy peace support operations abroad as the South African intervention in Lesotho and DRC was motivated by the need for regional stability and to depict it as pioneering nation in Africa, respectively; Uganda’s troop deploying in Somalia in support of the US War on Terror aggravated by its advantage to it; Rwanda’s interest in Darfur tied with its own experience of genocide; and some states will join a mission either to generate funds for their armed forces or other ends (Vines, 2013). Such divergent drives thus are not always suitable to sustained commitment.

The second political hurdle is hostility and mistrust between states such as in the IGAD region between Ethiopia and Eritrea due to their unresolved border conflict and the former’s non-mandated intervention in Somalia in 2006 (Moller, 2009; Zemelak, 2012) and in the Maghreb region between Morocco (not an AU member) and Algeria over Western Sahara (occupied by Morocco) and the alleged support the latter provided to Polisario that fought for the independence of Western Sahara; and the internal cracks created in the Maghreb states on Western Sahara and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Nibishaka,2012; Vines, 2013). Undoubtedly, these hinder intra-regional joint security actions and incapacitate both regions’ standby forces ability to timely respond to conflicts.

Hegemonic aspiration of states in some regions is another hindering factor. Competition for sub-regional hegemony such as between Ethiopia and Kenya in the IGAD region that resulted in the HQ and Planning element of EASBRIG to be divided and located in Addis Ababa and Nairobi respectively and Egypt and Libya (under Gaddafi) in the Maghreb region that was one of the reasons why the establishment of North brigade lag behind others. Nigeria’s and South Africa’s regional hegemony also helped to shape ECOWAS’ and SADC’s agenda to their advantage, respectively, that generated suspicion and fear among states in both regions (Dier, 2010; Vines, 2013), which is inimical for timely addressing conflicts that might arise in these regions.

The fourth barrier lies on the extent of internal conflicts within the sub-regions. The IGAD and Central Africa regions are the two major conflict zones as it was seen in the frequent conflicts took place in Somalia and Eastern Congo and the recent crisis in South Sudan. What hindered from addressing the conflicts is not only their magnitude but also neighboring states’ intervention directly or through proxies to pursue their goals such as Ethiopia and Kenya in Somalia, and Rwanda and Uganda in Eastern Congo (Feldman, 2008; Vorrath, 2012).

The fifth hurdle is AU’s lack of political ownership of the ASF at the continental level reason to that some regions such as the West and South often opted for regional approach to conflict management and thus the challenge lies on how to combine the AU historical legitimacy and the RECs operational legitimacy (IRSEM, 2011). Besides, since the ASF is a political tool of states and then the choice between the continental and regional levels depends on the interests they seek to defend (IRSEM, 2011).

Beside the above political hurdles, structural barriers further hamper the ASF capacity to respond timely to conflict in Africa. These include, first, multiple and overlapping membership: 46 African states are members of 2-4 RECs (Ndomo, 2009: 10). Dual membership therefore (1) creates conflict of interests among and erodes allegiance of member states in the regions; and (2) splits the already scarce financial resource and weakens the economic basis of cooperation (Kinzel, 2008; Zemelak, 2012). These are detrimental to mutual trust and integrative timely actions to conflicts. Besides, the uneven development of the ASF brigades across regions counters its ability to respond timely to conflicts. The North and Central African brigades lagged behind the far developed East, South and West brigades that thwarted the ASF efforts to address such conflicts as in Libya and CAR (Vines, 2013; Vorrath, 2012).

ASF has also been challenged by lack of integrated command and control system, provision of the requisite military specialties and technical and infrastructural capabilities as it was the case in AMIS and AMISOM (IRSEM, 2011; Solomon, 2010); and lack of clearly spelt out rules defining the roles and powers of the AU and RECs in relation to the use and authorization of ASF capabilities and mediating an effective AU-RECs engagement on ASF issues despite the fact that Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in between (Cilliers, 2008; Solomon, 2010). This prevents the effectiveness of the mandate and the ASF’s ability to manage conflict timely.

In addition, lack of synchronization of brigades across regions and proper planning as it was seen in the AMIS and rejection of the UNSC frequently of AU’s plans to deploy a mission due to gaps in planning and inadequate information and the fact that African operations often undertaken on ad hoc and uncoordinated basis undermine the ASF early response to conflicts in Africa (Lotze, 2013; Guicherd, 2007; IRSEM, 2011). The multidimensionality of the ASF as it is envisaged in the PSC, Art. 14, is also diluted by the much focus given to its military over civilian/peace-building components as it was seen in Burundi and in Sudan/ Darfur (UNAMID) (Vorrath, 2012). Besides, the ASF is not a solution for political crises affecting regions such as in the Horn of Africa as it was clearly shown in case of AMISOM despite its civilian component (IRSEM, 2011). Moreover, lack of match between capacity and willingness of actors in the RECs, clear flow of institutional communication between AU and RECs, consistency and assertiveness of leadership, and paucity of the practice of liberal peace in many of the members states upon which the AU is based are the structural barriers (Vines, 2013; Vorrath, 2012).

Conceptual and legal barriers are also supplementary hindering factors for ASF. These include:

1.   The dilemma lies on the AU’s need to assure authorization from UNSC for its intervention under the Constitutive Act (Art. 4(h)) to which the latter has no legal authority under UN Charter (Dier, 2010; Getachew, 2008);

2.   Although scenarios and timelines for deployment are set out, it is unclear that how it would be possible since the ASF is a standby but not a standing body (Solomon, 2010);

3.   The deployment of 15 days’ timelines in the genocide case is unlikely since it needs self-sufficient fully operational forces which is challenging even to NATO let alone the ASF beside lack of plan for the identification of the lead nation to cover such case (Getachew, 2008; Kinzel, 2008);

4.   Because scenario six was designed in the context of the conflict dynamics of the 1990s, it could not capture the current crises the continent grappling with such as terrorist networks, piracy, and state repression (Lotze, 2013);

5.   Gaps existed in the existing documents regarding reimbursement to Troop-Contributing Countries (TCCs) and whether the lessons learned are incorporated into the planning of future mission (Solomon, 2010); and

6.   It is argued that the ASF is a ‘moving target’ due to the inability of African stakeholders to settle it on a clear concept and the ensuing ambiguous goals thus let every partner free to pick and choose with the natural bias of its interests (Bachemann, 2011).

4.2. Financial, Resource and Technical Hurdles

Lack of adequate and sustainable funding or African financial ownership of the ASF is a serious barrier. The paradox here lies on the desire to approach conflicts in Africa with African capacity and the reluctance of African states to pay their annual contributions as they provided from 2008 to 2011 only 2% of the AU’s Peace Fund to cover peace and security efforts whilst the rest came from external donors, which is the reason why AMISOM is now totally dependent on the EU and UN, and MICOPAX, the ECCAS mission in the CAR received 50% of its finance from the EU and 30% from France (Bachemann, 2011; Vines, 2013; Vorrath, 2012). The EU has provided 700 million Euros to operationalize the APSA and to support the African peace support missions (Dier, 2010; Kinzel, 2008).

Given the estimated $475 million the UN spent monthly on its missions in Africa (2009-2010) (UN, 2014), it is obvious that the AU need to access the necessary funds for its missions, lack of which as its limited experience in AMIS and AMISOM suggested remains as its major challenge (Solomon, 2010). Therefore, AU’s lack of sustainable funding has resulted in:

1.   The inability to reach mandated troop levels;

2.   Limited operational effectiveness owing to a short term focus on the availability of funding than achieving a longer term strategic focus on the mandate;

3.   A difficult transition from an under-resourced AMIS to UNAMID in Darfur/ Sudan; and

4.   Unsustainable administrative, coordination and financial management burden placed on a limited AU capacity by many donors reporting and oversight mechanisms (UNSC, 2009).

The challenge is not only lack of sustainable funding from external donors but reliance on them also open up spaces for "the injection of external foreign policy concern" (Young, 2007: 5) that obviously undermines independent decision making ability of the AU vis-à-vis ASF deployment to address conflicts timely.

Resource and logistic barriers are also hampering factors for the ASF. These include:

1.   The HQ and the planning elements in the five regional brigades varying degree are not only understaffed but also lacked specialists and experts (Kinzel, 2008; AU, 2010);

2.   Lack of a good number of lead nations capable of carrying out military missions under scenario 6 (Getachew, 2008);

3.   Lack of efficient logistic systems made African operations entirely dependent on the support such as NATO for airlift, the US for logistical service or the UN for inclusive support packages as in the case of AMISOM (Lotze, 2013);

4.   Lack of the necessary infrastructure and equipment, air and sea lift capabilities, transportation and information systems as it was seen in UNAMID (Pham, 2009);

5.   Lack of adequate training centers mainly for ECCAS contingents in the central region (Solomon, 2010);

6.   Lack of adequate fire arms as it was witnessed in the AMIS (Feldman, 2008);

7.   Limited national resources that hindered early intervention like in Guinea Bissau and Mali (IRSEM, 2011); and

8.   Inadequate troops with small number of civilian and police elements varying across regions (AU, 2010; Bachemann, 2011).

Moreover, the ASF is thwarted by technical and administrative barriers. Lack of inter-operability and compatibility of different regional brigades rooted in the national armies of the five RECs regions is the major hurdle owing to their diversity in: (1) linguistic milieu that often obstructed effective communications of the AU’s missions (AU, 2010), its intelligence capabilities as lack of Arabic speakers in AMIS hampered the mission (Feldman, 2008), and its relations such as with ECCAS because the latter opted for French to operate with than the former of English (IRSEM, 2011); (2) culture that undermines the efforts of forging a coalition of forces of different religions, values and traditions (Feldman, 2008); and (3) equipment, standards for operational procedures, approaches and training backgrounds (AU, 2010; Solomon, 2010). Beside the technical hurdles, administrative constraints count against the ASF including: (1) lack of administrative capacity not only to mobilize the required funding but also manage what has been obtained effectively and in transparent ways as the experience of AMIS clearly showed (Ekengrad, 2008); (2) putting regional brigades’ HQ and Planning components apart such as in the East brigade is not only less efficient but also makes coordination efforts challenging in conflict situations let alone the central African brigade that has not yet permanent HQ (AU, 2010; Vines, 2013); and (3) lack of donors coordination because it carries transaction costs, each donor is motivated by its own interests, and donors’ competition mainly for political visibility in the international scene (Bachemann, 2011). All of these hindering factors discussed above militate against varying degree the effectiveness and ability of the ASF responding timely to crisis situations in Africa.

5. What Should Be Done

African states’ efforts to address conflicts in the continent and activate the ASF to realize peace and stability has registered many successes despite challenges that have hampered its effectiveness and ability to respond timely to crisis situations in Africa. The question thus is not whether Africans need a device as the ASF for "African solutions for African problems" but how the ASF’s capacity could be enhanced by overcoming the challenges that it encountered so as to make it effective and ready to manage conflicts in the continent.

To this end, it is suggested that the AU member states should provide the financial means to run the ASF by paying their annual contributions based on the logic that "investment in the maintenance of peace and security in the continent amounts to buying security for their efforts on development and better life for their citizens" (Getachew, 2008: 20). The AU also not only search out alternative sources of funding as through taxes and tariffs, special contributions and creating special arrangements with bilateral and multilateral donors but also ensuring that such funds are channeled and administered effectively through viable financial administrative system acceptable to all partners. Since almost all the ASF’s barriers are linked directly to deficits of predictable and sustainable funding due attention should also be given to "African ownership" of the ASF. Moreover, the AU should devise means to coordinate donors’ funding so as to direct it timely to its missions.

Besides, the AU in collaboration with the RECs/RMs should:

1.   Make it clear that the roles, powers and channels of communication among them are clearly spelt out and stated so as to smoothen their relations;

2.   Harmonize membership of standby arrangements meant to reduce redundancies, conflict of interests, and other gaps in the system;

3.   Improve staffing of both the HQs and planning components of the regional brigades and increase the size of the military, police and civilian components via devising some sort of incentives for troop contributing states;

4.   Equip the ASF with the necessary logistics and resources.

5.   Mobilize the necessary political will of its member states and provide more guidance and leadership for the various centers of excellence in the regions.

Moreover, to ensure the inter-operability of the ethno-culturally diverse regional brigades, the AU with the RECs should:

1.   Standardize ASF training within and across regions that will ensure regional brigades to adhere to the same standards and level of technical preparedness;

2.   Provide constant trainings in line with the UN standards and enhance joint force exercise and operations that will improve the professionalism of the regional forces and in this regard lesson learned from past joint operations should also be included to future actions; and

3.   Establish a communications basis via adequate language training necessary to standardize equipment and communications media.


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