In light of the upcoming ten-year anniversary for the deployment of AMISOM and anticipated withdrawal by 2020, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) at its 622nd meeting on Somalia, 6 September 2016, requested the African Union Commission (AUC) to conduct “a comprehensive lessons learned exercise, which will identify progress made, challenges encountered and more importantly recommend options on the way forward in the future of AMISOM, including the Mission Exit Strategy”. This request was reemphasized during the 649th meeting of the AU PSC on Somalia, 23 January 2017, where Council members requested the finalization of the ten-year lessons learned study. The outcomes of this lessons learned exercise will provide the basis for strategic engagements by the AU on the future of AMISOM presence in Somalia. AU PSOD, with support from the UK and NUPI TfP organised a lessons learned workshop 9-10 March in Nairobi, Kenya, to draw lessons that could be fed into the high-level ‘Report of the Chairperson of the Commission’, to the PSC for its consideration at the start of the second quarter 2017.
NUPI TfP commissioned the background report of the lessons learned workshop which was available for participants to discuss and debate. Cedric de Coning participated and presented in the session ‘Assessing AMISOM’s Political mandates vis-à-vis the Civilian and Police Components: key lessons and way forward’. Linda Darkwa, the TfP Coordinator based in Addis Ababa also attended the workshop as an expert. The workshop was attended by AMISOM, PSOD, academics and experts, UNSOS, a representative from the Peace Fund, representatives from the Somalia National Army, and partners/donors including the US, UK, EU and UN. The workshop started by offering broad reflections on AMISOM ten years on, successes and challenges in AMISOM Military Operations, and AMISOM’s Mission Support Regime including financing of the mission. It also presented an overview of partnerships and coordination, AMISOM and Somali Security Forces and Options for AMISOM’s Exit Strategy and way forward.