African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis: Advice for African Policymakers

"Despite the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) within the AU security system, rapid reaction remains a challenging task, as the crisis in Mali has demonstrated. The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC) has therefore been proposed following an initiative from South Africa, in order to equip the AU with a rapid deployment instrument. The ACIRC not only fills the capability gap but also aims at providing more African ownership in crisis management and response situations. However, many challenges lie ahead. These range from outright opposition from some member states, funding gaps, troop contribution and logistical worries to mandate issues on generating, deploying and withdrawing troops, as well as the question of how to integrate the ACIRC into the AU’s existing security structures. This briefing reflects both the challenges and potential of the ACIRC and makes specific policy recommendations for its operationalisation."