Police programme Africa – AU, ECOWAS, EASFSEC

Project description

Title: Police programme Africa – supporting police structures within the African Union, ECOWAS and EASFSEC
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Africa ragional
Lead executing agency: African Union, AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), police components
Overall term: 2009 to 2018

AU. Conference of the Police Strategic Support Group. © GIZ


Many African countries have faced violent conflicts in recent years and these have been exacerbated by transnational organised crime. In addition, terrorist groups are exploiting weakened state structures to extend their influence and territorial control and to set up bases for training and planning terrorist attacks.

Given the regional and continental dimension of crises and conflicts, the African Union (AU), the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RM) are taking on an increasingly significant role and demonstrating a greater degree of ownership in the African Peace and Security Architecture.

The AU has been working since 2002 to develop the African Standby Force (ASF). ASF consists of five regional units that together form a multidimensional intervention force. However, compared with its military components, the civil and police components of ASF are poorly developed and limited in their operational capacity. Another pillar in the promotion of peace and security is the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), which is to be embedded as a standalone unit within the AU. AFRIPOL will serve both as a body for coordinating continental and regional police work and as a structure providing a connection to INTERPOL.


The planning, standardisation and operationalisation capacities of the African Peace and Security Architecture’s continental and regional police structures are strengthened.


Since 2009, GIZ has been implementing a programme on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office to support police reform processes in Africa. In its current phase, the Police Programme Africa is working with selected national and regional police institutions, an immigration authority, the AU and regional organisations in order to improve internal management processes and basic training. The programme is also enhancing specialist and technical knowledge in specific areas such as forensics in order to tackle transnational organised crime and strengthen border security. In addition, it is helping to increase the regional coordination of police services.

The focus of the Police Programme’s work with the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Standby Force Secretariat (EASFSEC) is on strategic and conceptual advisory services. Organisational, planning and budgeting processes are being strengthened in relevant AU bodies, while advisory services are also being provided on transnational organised crime at continental, regional and national level (for example training and awareness-raising measures). The team is also refining regional and continental police standards for peace missions, supporting networking activities between the different organisations, and assisting with the planning and development of AFRIPOL.


The establishment of the Police Strategic Support Group (PSSG) in October 2012 represented an important step towards improving the coordination and communication processes within the AU’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD). PSSG is a continental platform for linking up the different police planning elements within PSOD, the RECs and the RMs. It also serves as an advisory body to the AU Commission. In this role, the platform has developed a standard both for individual police officers and for police units within peace missions. On an overall level, PSSG increases clarity in the decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council with regard to the role, strength, composition and primary tasks of police units in peace missions. As in the previous phases, the Police Programme provides logistical, conceptual and technical support for PSSG’s meetings.

The team advised individuals in key positions on the creation and ongoing development of AFRIPOL. This provided a basis for operationalising AFRIPOL and ensuring that it will be able to coordinate regional police work in future.

Further information