Support to the Research and Training Programme of the African Union in the Area of Peace and Security

Project description

Title: Support to the African Union on Training, Applied Research and Policy Dialogue in the Area of Peace and Security through the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member States of the African Union (AU)
Lead executing agency: African Union Commission (AUC)
Overall term: 2018 to 2021


Violent conflicts and wars continue to pose as key obstacles to human security and sustainable development in a number of countries and regions in Africa. For this reason, promoting peace and security by implementing the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is one of the most important objectives of the African Union (AU).

In this context, the AU also attaches great importance to building the capacities of employees in the relevant institutions. However, specialist staff and managers at these institutions and within civil society often lack subject-specific expertise and practical knowledge. There are also insufficient opportunities for cross-institutional exchange and policy dialogue. This makes it more difficult to develop practical, long-term political strategies for the prevention and management of crises and conflicts.

Against this background, the AU initiated the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP) in January 2010 in cooperation with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University. The aim of this pan-African programme is to support training, applied research, policy advice and political dialogue on the APSA. IPSS has now established itself as a key think tank on security issues on the African continent. Nonetheless, the services offered by the institute need to be further developed and current themes need to be improved in response to the complex, dynamic developments in conflicts. Examples of these themes include regional migration policy (migration governance), mediation and gender issues. The institute’s human and institutional capacities should also be reinforced to meet these challenges.


The performance capacity of relevant APSA actors as well as the institutional sustainability of IPSS to develop and implement policies and strategies in the area of peace and security have been strengthened. 


The project supports the expansion of training provided by IPSS and helps its research and events become more target-group oriented. It also contributes to developing the institute’s performance capacity. The project provides advice on the identification of new areas for training and on the development of curricula and digital learning services. It supports analyses of needs, the expansion of cooperation partnerships, and measures for personnel and organisational development. It also participates in the realisation of events and supports the preparation and publishing of research findings.

Furthermore, the project improves gender equality by promoting the participation of women in its activities. It also introduces gender aspects into research, teaching and political dialogue. With its contributions to Sustainable Development Goals 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) and 5 (Gender Equality), it is generally aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda.


Thanks to the training of specialist staff and managers by the Executive Master’s Programme in Managing Peace and Security in Africa (MPSA) and other training programmes, the project has contributed significantly to strengthening the political, strategic and organisational capabilities of specialists and managers in Africa. Since 2012, 287 people from over 40 African countries have successfully graduated from this master’s course. The proportion of women was around 27 per cent. The mandatory female quota of 35 per cent in these courses will continue to increase the ranks of female specialists in the area of peace and security.

In 2012, IPSS created a platform for policy exchange in the form of the ‘Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa’. Each year, African heads of state and government and leading representatives from the areas of research, civil society and the private sector participate in this well-regarded, pan-African security conference in Ethiopia. They engage in high-level discussions on political challenges and consider possible solutions in the area of peace and security in Africa.

IPSS has also published numerous applied case studies and policy papers. One example is the annual ‘APSA Impact Report’ on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The report analyses and evaluates the interventions of the AU and of regional organisations and mechanisms and, as a result, provides insights into the effectiveness and quality of regional crisis prevention and management measures.

All in all, the project has promoted peace and security through research, education, and outreach and thereby also contributed to conflict prevention, management, resolution, and peacebuilding with an all-African outlook.


Additional information