The African Union has agreed not to start financing security operations from a new fund until 2023 because it has received fewer contributions than hoped.
The AU, which groups 55 African countries, had hoped to start tapping the fund this year for peacekeeping missions, mediation and conflict prevention on a continent facing severe threats of violence and terrorism.
But at the end of a summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it decided not to start using the fund yet after it emerged it had less than half of the $400 million it had targeted.
The failure to secure as much funding as planned is a new setback to security hopes in Africa following an increase in attacks by Islamist militants in the vast Sahel region of western and north-central Africa.
It also follows a drawdown of AU peacekeepers in Somalia as external donors reduce funding, aiming to transfer responsibility to Somali forces.
AU nations have so far raised only $164 million, said Donald Kaberuka, the AU’s special envoy for the fund.
Fewer than 30 member states have paid their full contributions and five have never paid their annual dues, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.
North African states, including Egypt and Algeria, are challenging their yearly contributions and want Central African states such as Cameroon and Central African Republic to pay more, five AU officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Kaberuka said the decision on how much each country would pay had been postponed until later this year.
“Most countries do agree about the financing mechanism,” he said, adding that “for those who disagree we have until July 2020 to find a solution.”