On December 4, 2019, EPON and TfP organized a seminar hosted by the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa to present the findings of the EPON report on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The meeting gathered researchers, Regional Economic Communities and AU and AMISOM officials, who contributed to a productive discussion on the challenges and possibilities of AMISOM.
The meeting was introduced by Major General Francis Okello, Chief of Plans and Operations of the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the African Union Commission, and former Force Commander of AMISOM, and Dr Cedric de Coning (NUPI & ACCORD) and the panel was chaired by Michelle Ndiaye Ntab (IPSS). The panel consisted of:
- Dr. Thomas Mandrup, Stellenbosch University,
- Dr. Linda Darkwa, Training for Peace Programme (TfP),
- Crowd Chirenje, Sr. Commissioner of Police (Rtd), Institute of Security Studies (ISS),
- Dr. Jide Okeke, UNDP Africa, and
- Zinurine Alghali, Chief, Policy Development Unit, AU Peace Support Operations Division.
The panel discussed the findings from the EPON AMISOM report, current challenges of peace operations, and finally what is needed to make AMISOM more effective in the future. Three main points can be summarized from the discussions:
- AMISOM has made significant progress on its strategic objectives during its engagement in Somalia, especially by removing Al Shabaab from Mogadishu and several other towns, protecting the government and international actors and lowering the levels of violent conflict in the areas under its protection.
- AMISOM is working in a demanding asymmetric environment. Al Shabaab and similar groups cannot be defeated with military means alone. Political stability, effective governance and socio-economic development is needed to transform the security AMISOM created into sustainable peace, but AMISOM is not mandated to work in these areas.
- Working closely with local and international partners and harmonizing different initiatives on the ground to create a comprehensive approach is essential going forward, including better cooperation between the AU, the UN, the EU and other international partners. However, the most important factor is inter-Somali cooperation to pursue a shared vision for a peaceful Somalia. Without strong national partners leading the process there is little international partners can achieve. The AU could play an important convening role in coordinating regional efforts.
Read the full AMISOM report in e-reader format here. The report is also available on Kindle. You can also read the insights from the main author of the EPON report, Paul D. Williams, in his blog post here.