Providing strategic Police support to the AU and AFRIPOL

Project description

Title: Programme to Build and Strengthen the Police Structures in Selected Partner Countries in Africa, Regional Component African Union (AU), Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL)
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: African Union
Lead executing agency: African Union (AU), African Union AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) 
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

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Since 2009, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been promoting police reform processes in Africa on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office. The programme is currently implementing a total of eleven country and regional measures. All selected partner countries and regions show characteristics of fragile statehood to varying degrees.

This leads to a heightened risk of violent conflicts, transnational threats such as the spread of Transnational Organised Crime (TOC), and the instability of entire regions. At the same time, training and operational areas are increasing for terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and Al-Shabaab and Islamic State. The national and regional police do not have the institutional and human resources to ensure the security of their populations.

In 2002, the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) launched measures to strengthen peace, security and stability on the continent. Due to the regional and continental dimension of the crises and conflicts, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) play a key role in areas such as crisis prevention, conflict transformation and peacekeeping. The African Standby Force (ASF) is one of the five pillars of the APSA, and supports African governments respond to crises and conflicts. There is currently a lack of guidelines for the training, deployment and cooperation of police officers serving in African peacekeeping missions and police operations. As things stand, the RECs and RMs only set out limited specifications for attracting and recruiting police forces. Overall, the criteria for ensuring the strength of the ASF are not being met. The institutional development and operationalisation of AFRIPOL are in their infancy and require external support, not least due to the extent of coordination involved.


The policing capacity of the AU and the RECs/RMs for peacekeeping, special missions and for fighting transnational organised crime in Africa has been strengthened in order to eliminate cross-border security threats and enforce the state monopoly on the use of force.

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All processes are developed in close consultation with the partner institutions, based on existing national or international strategies. A great deal of emphasis is placed on compliance with legal norms and on implementing the International Human Rights Charter in police work. Attention is paid to gender equality in all programme activities. The partner organisations receive support in the areas of infrastructure and equipment, training and capacity development as well as organisational advice and support.

The AU component of the programme is focused on providing strategic support based on the reform process of the AU administration.

By strengthening internal control procedures, improving accountability, complaint mechanisms and professionalisation through organisational support, the rule of law-based action and thus legitimacy is increased. Improved service delivery and cooperation along the criminal justice chain, is supported also e.g. by strengthening forensics and forensic science.

At the cross-national level African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), the North African Regional Capacity (NARC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the G5 Sahel receive support in their efforts to counter TOC and terrorism.

Moreover, the development of framework documents e.g. policies, standard operating procedures and guidelines as well as the effective cooperation and workshops is strengthened. For example, AFRIPOL is now implementing a work plan approved by the General Assembly.


A database for police officers, has been developed, which is now used by the Eastern Africa Standby Force Secretariat (EASFSEC). 

Last Update: September 2020

Additional information