The U.S. helps Africans protect their own communities

Some of the world’s most dangerous places in Africa now have more peacekeepers from the continent thanks to the close relationship between the U.S. and the African Union.

Today Africans comprise more than 70 percent of the peacekeepers in Africa, up from 40 percent 10 years ago.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noted in a recent meeting with foreign ministers of African nations that the United States is helping more than 20 African countries train, deploy and sustain peacekeepers. Such efforts helped train more than 27,000 African peacekeepers for the United Nations and African Union missions in 2017 alone.

Over the years, the U.S.-backed training has helped more Africans protect their own communities. The United States has supported the African Union — a group of heads of state from 55 African nations — since its beginning in 2002. The U.S. is the first non-African country with a mission to the union. Conflict prevention, mitigation and peace operations have been among the more prominent focuses of U.S.-African Union relations.

Here are some examples of the U.S. and African Union partnership in action:

People dressed in yellow safety suits approached by man (© Tami Chappell/Reuters)
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructor directs health care workers in preparation for the response to the Ebola outbreak. (© Tami Chappell/Reuters)
  • Somalia, where African Union peacekeeping forces protect citizens from Islamist militias and help build the Somali state.
  • Sudan, where the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur has worked to bring stability to the war-torn region.
  • Six countries — Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda — received training to respond more quickly to humanitarian and medical crises throughout the continent.

The response to the West African Ebola epidemic also illustrates U.S. teamwork with the African Union. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention partnered with the African Union to launch the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015.

During a working lunch with African leaders at the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump said, “The United States will partner with the countries and organizations, like the African Union, that lead successful efforts to end violence, to prevent the spread of terrorism and to respond to humanitarian crises.”