The United States, France and the United Kingdom all have bilateral training programs to African militaries. Specific programs include the British Military Advisory and Training Teams (BMATT), the U.S. African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, and France’s Reinforcement of African Peace-keeping Capacities (ReCAMP) program. SHIRBRIG, has conducted exercises (in Demark in 2003, for example) that bring together members and observers to gain knowledge, which in 2003 included African participation and interest from representatives of the AU.27 Italy is supporting training for peacekeepers in 2004, and held a seminar on conflict in Africa in 2003 with African and EU leaders.
In March 2004, Canada signed an agreement with ECOWAS for peace and security initiatives, including funding for its Peace Fund and for scholarships for West African civilians and military personnel to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana.28 Canada created a $500 million Canada Fund for Africa at the Kananaskis Summit to support the Africa Action Plan. $25 million helps Africans strengthen their peace and security capacity, improve individual and community security, and address the needs of war-affected children. Canada also supports an improved AU early warning system and management capacity for ECOWAS to conduct peace operations (e.g., funding salaries for seconded staff from ECOWAS member states at the Abuja headquarters). 29
The UK is also supportive of the G8 commitments, and provides funding through its Africa Pool to support the capacity of African countries and organizations for peacekeeping operations. In February 2004 Great Britain launched a new initiative, the Commission for Africa, to increase support for the Africa Action Plan and NEPAD. Aimed at producing a report by spring 2005, the Commission will evaluate policies within Africa and internationally and identify areas of success and failure, including conflict resolution and peace- building. The Commission sets the groundwork for the UK’s agenda when it hosts the upcoming G8 summit in 2005.
Recommendations: Challenges for the G8, Considerations for Sea Island
A full assessment of the Africa Action Plan is not scheduled for Sea Island. The G8 members should continue to emphasize the peace and security aspects of the Plan, however, building on the work of Kananaskis and Evian, leading up to its review in 2005 and aiming to meet the goal of greater African capacities by 2010. With the themes of prosperity, freedom and terrorism, the Summit’s agenda should include a sober look at G8 commitments to press forward on improving African capacities for peace operations and conflict resolution. Can Africa resolve the principal armed conflicts in the region? Is the African Union on the path to more capacity to plan, manage, and sustain AU-led peace operations by 2010? Is there more effective peace-building? Is African security a “top priority?” Despite much activity, none of these questions can be answered with a resounding “yes.” Much more needs to be done. Some recommendations include:
Reframe Support for African Capacity to Deal with Conflicts. There is wide recognition that state failure and regional conflicts can directly concern stable nations, not just their neighbors, undermining prosperity and providing havens for illegal activities, including terrorist networks.30 Indeed, the Bush Administration's National Security Strategy acknowledges that "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones," which certainly applies to conflicts in Africa.31 Yet such
27 28 One African country, Senegal, is an observer to SHIRBRIG. “Canada helps Africans prevent and resolve violent conflict,” News Release, Office of the Prime Minister, Canada, 9 March 2004, (http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news.asp?id=109). Data available on the website of the Canadian International Development Agency, as of 31 March 2004: http://www.cida.gc.ca/cida_ind.nsf/AllDocIds/3EC6BC93E59EF25285256D1000518AFB?OpenDocument. Doug Farrah of The Washington Post, for example, has written about the connection between the illegal diamond trade in West Africa and al-Qaeda. White House, The National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington, DC: September 2002). 29 30 31