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), AFRIPOL
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Country: African Union
Lead executing agency: African Union (AU), African Union AU Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD), AFRIPOL 
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

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Since 2009, GIZ has been working on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office to promote police reform processes in Africa. The programme currently implements eleven measures at national and regional levels. All of the countries selected exhibit characteristics of fragile statehood, which include deficits in enforcing the state monopoly on the use of force resulting in losing control over the national territory; limited capacities to provide basic state services and not enough protection of human rights. 

This leads to a heightened risk of violent conflicts, cross-border 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 and Al-Shabaab. 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 in African peace missions and operations. At the same time, the RECs and RMs have limited guidelines. The prerequisites for maximisinge ASF capacity are not yet in place. The African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) institutional and operationally development, and its coordination requirements still require external support.


Partner countries can deal with cross-border security threats and enforce the state monopoly on the use of force. Police capacities in the AU as well as the RECs/RMs for peace and special missions and to combat transnational organised crime in Africa have been strengthened.

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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. Support is provided in the areas of infrastructure and equipment, training and capacity development as well as organisational advice and support. 

The programmes regional measure at the AU focus on strategic support. 

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 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