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Executive Summary

The evaluation of the Africa Programme for Peace, 2004-2017 was commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department for Evaluation and has been carried out by a team of international experts during the period December 2017 to August 2018. The purpose of the evaluation is two-fold: to enhance the impact of the Africa Programme for Peace and to learn lessons for future capacity-building efforts of multilateral institutions.

The APP seeks to enhance peace, security and governance in Africa by supporting the capacity of regional organisations, their member states and stakeholders. The programme’s logic is built around the ‘African solutions to African problems’ maxim, whereby the APP is to support key African organisations with the appropriate policy dialogue, funding and technical assistance in order to strengthen their capacity to plan and execute agendas – with a specific focus on implementing the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA). Increasingly, the programme logic has been complemented by the assumption that the APP would provide Denmark with better access to key African officials, thereby also enabling Denmark to better pursue its national security and trade objectives.

The APP has gone through three sequential phases (2004-2009; 2010-2013; and 2014-2017) and is currently in its fourth phase (2018-2021). APP Programme Documents set out the priorities and objectives of Danish funding for each phase; Development Engagement Documents are produced to specify Danish support to each individual partner organisation (breaking the APP down in separate ‘components’). The APP is managed from the Danish embassy in Addis Ababa.

This evaluation primarily focuses on three organisations that have been identified as the main APP partner organisations: the African Union

(AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In addition, the evaluation also assesses the APP support provided to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). Finally, the evaluation briefly reviews the APP engagement with the Southern African Development Community, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, the Institute for Security Studies, and the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism.

Overall, each of the three main APP partner organisations has been involved in conflict prevention, conflict management or conflict resolution processes critical to peace, stability and governance in Africa. As a funder to these APSA and AGA organisations, Denmark deserves credit for investing in initiatives that are highly relevant. While the relevance of APP and its partner organisations is confirmed by this evaluation, it is less clear that the programme and the organisations cover an adequate spectrum of relevant peace and security priorities. The nature of conflict in Africa has changed considerably, and it is not evident that the APP’s focus and approach have adequately adapted to new threats. The key question is where the added value of regional organisations lies, in relation to not only the changing nature of conflict in Africa, but also the changing stakeholders and geopolitical agendas. The relevance (and impact) of the AU, IGAD and ECOWAS seems to be mostly linked to their norm-setting roles and less to their ability to develop and implement transnational policies and operations (except in specific instances such as the AU mission in Somalia or post-election negotiations in the Gambia). The norm-setting function has primarily focused on the conflict prevention and mediation agenda, providing a supportive political backdrop for interventions in an effort to reach more versatile peace architecture in the region.

While the evaluation found the APP and its partner organisations relevant, the intermediate results (outcomes) of APP funding have been less clear. The reporting on outcomes by the AU, IGAD and ECOWAS has been unsatisfactory throughout the evaluation period, resulting in a broken results chain where it is unclear whether the impact of the organisations can indeed be partially attributed to Danish APP funding. The APP contributions have allowed each of the three main APP partner organisations – but also the supporting organisations that received APP funding – to increase their capacity across a range of functions that are relevant to the APSA and AGA. Overall, the longer-term and flexible nature of the funding has been crucial in allowing the organisations to respond quickly to opportunities as they arose. Still, the capacity (both in terms of quality and quantity) of the organisations remains weak, and there is a continued need to strengthen the organisations’ financial, organisational, and technical capacity.

Whereas policy dialogues and regular interaction with the partner organisations have been identified as the most important instrument to the APP, this evaluation finds that these dialogues and interaction have mostly taken place in Addis Ababa in relation to the AU. While the APP contributions may have enabled access to African officials, there are no clear indications that the access has been leveraged to engage in a policy or political dialogue. A clear strategic framework identifying the overall purpose of access, e.g. influencing officials to pursue particular objectives or policies, has so far been lacking. Particularly given the overall weak capacity of the APP partners, more guidance and steering is required from an effectiveness and efficiency point of view. It is commendable that Denmark continues to ‘work through’ the APP partner organisations despite the capacity limitations that apply, rather than ‘working around’ them as many other donors do, as it engenders ownership. Yet it is also clear that such an approach must be accompanied by a regular strategic dialogue and technical assistance.

The cost-effectiveness of APP programming is hard to establish, given the insufficient reporting over the years, particularly as a large part of the APP’s funding goes through Joint Financing Agreements (JFAs), i.e. pooled funding arrangements. Compared to other donors, particularly the other Nordic donors, Denmark employs a relatively low number of staff to manage the APP. Danish officials noted, however, that the small team ensured better coherence and no division between the Danish political and development initiatives.

The choice to manage all APP components out of Addis Ababa makes sense from an efficiency standpoint, as in theory this allows Denmark to bring the various components together and ensure coherence between them. However, it is not clear how these potential benefits have been materialised in practice. The evaluation finds that the APP setup has not been conducive to establishing a more solid division of labour between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) based on their comparative advantages and abilities. By managing the various APP components as individual programmes rather than as elements of an overarching programme, Denmark did not stimulate or facilitate further cooperation between the organisations. This is linked to the fact that the evaluation has found ambiguity between the verbal and the written accounts on the programmatic feature of the APP. On one hand, officials engaged with the APP argued that the APP was simply a ‘funding stream’ that targeted institutions operating with similar objectives; on the other hand, officials maintained that all components should be managed from a single programme office, as this would increase synergy and cohesion. This ambiguity should be tackled in order to allow for a shared set of expectations vis-à-vis the APP across the range of stakeholders involved, and to allow for a clear and realistic results framework for the programme.

The APP is perceived as flexible by the partner organisations, and partners considered Denmark to be a constructive partner that operates on a level of equality. The consistency and predictability of the APP support allows for planning, and the flexible terms allows for shifting priorities. Yet other aid officials questioned whether the Danish approach has undermined the overall donor effort to keep specifically ECOWAS and IGAD accountable and focused on delivering, either on their convening mandates or capacity building efforts.

The sustainability of the APP support is weakened by the high level of dependency of the APP partners on external funding. Meanwhile, the JFAs allow for better coherence between Danish support to APP partners and the support provided by other donors. This is also important with regard to complementarity between Denmark’s ‘through the system’ approach, and other donors ‘around the system’ approach. Denmark needs to coordinate its efforts more with these donors in order to mitigate the risk of aid funding overlap. In addition, the evaluation notes a need for further alignment and coordination resulting from the growth of regional security initiatives in response to the current security threats in Africa.

Finally, the evaluation notes that synergies and coherence between the APP and the Peace and Stabilisation Fund (PSF), the other major Danish instrument on the African continent focused on providing support to activities that directly target peace and stabilisation) have been variable. While the two instruments are distinct, they have the same overarching objective and often even work with the same organisations. One way of viewing the relationship is to see the APP as working at the ‘strategic normative’, continental and regional level, and the PSF as working at the ‘strategic operational’, and regional and country level.

Given the findings of the evaluation, the evaluation recommends (1) that Denmark continues to fund African institutions that contribute to peace and stability in Africa. In order to meet these ultimate objectives, the evaluation recommends that Denmark take the following actions, which are further detailed in Chapter 12.

A. Strengthen the analytical foundations

The APP is built on the assumption that peace and security in Africa is best ensured if there is a strong continental architecture of organisations and capabilities preventing and reacting to conflicts and building peace. Furthermore, Denmark has employed an open, flexible, eye-toeye approach with its partner institutions. Denmark, however, could be clearer on the conscious choice of approach and the consequent lack of intermediate, measurable results. Whereas the approach encourages flexibility in outcomes, the APP reviews note dissatisfaction with the paucity of results. As a first step, the evaluation recommends (2) that Denmark expounds the programme logic to specify how transmission effects occur or do not occur.

This can be achieved through two interlinked exercises. Firstly, the APP could helpfully combine the explicit (as listed in the Programme Documents) and the implicit (Danish officials’ verbal accounts) theories of change. If access to African officials and the furthering of Danish national interest on trade and security are commonly agreed objectives, the APP would benefit from a clear description of these elements. This would facilitate (a) a clearer understanding of Denmark’s interest among APP partners, and (b) a more adequate assessment of Denmark’s overall objectives. Secondly, the expanded programme logic would help clarify the apparent mismatch between the Danish flexible approach and the results expected.

B. Innovate monitoring methods

A critical challenge in designing and evaluating the APP is how to measure institutional success. What are the key indicators that would demonstrate progress towards a more capable institution? Is there a path of organisational development, which is suitable to particular institutions in specific circumstances? Can the progress of an organisation be benchmarked to help set target timelines and assess its performance? Given that the APP is broadly defined as an institution-building programme, such an institutional success measure is strangely absent. The evaluation recommends (3) that the ongoing monitoring and future assessments view the programme through an organisational development lens. The evaluation has developed a model which could be applied. It is presented in Chapter 12.

C. Invest in people and relationships

The evaluation found that Denmark’s moment as a ‘pioneering and special friend’ of the APSA and AGA institutions has passed. This development is partly due to the greater maturity of the organisations, and partially to the increasing number of donors who support the institutions. The evaluation recommends (4) that Danish officials reengage with a more proactive approach, particularly in light of the need to accompany institutional capacity building with strategic dialogue and technical assistance. Such a reengagement does not require greater control over programming or processes but a more energetic focus on making tangible progress.

The evaluation also recommends (5) that Denmark strengthens coordination with other donors to help monitor and strengthen the partner organisations’ administrative and financial capacity and to build coalitions to jointly advance political-level collaboration within and among partner institutions. This is particularly likely to lead to results on ECOWAS, but also on IGAD where Nordic donors could increase coordination, and on the AU where Denmark could help advance some of the conversations that the EU is finding difficult to make progress on.

Finally, the evaluation recommends (6) that the Africa Department more actively engages in regional Africa programmes by facilitating regular communication among embassies and Copenhagen and by effectively advocating that African conflict prevention is in Denmark’s strategic interest.

D. Consolidate programme focus and adjust programme management set-up

The evaluation found that the various APP components have been managed as individual projects rather than as elements of an overarching programme, possibly as a result of different interpretations of the need for cohesion and coherence within the overall programme. As such, Denmark purposely did not stimulate or facilitate cooperation between the APP organisations in relation to their roles and responsibilities in implementing the APSA and the AGA. To ensure coherence, the evaluation recommends (7) to strengthen the strategic focus of the APP, including in its choice of partner organisations. This should follow not only an overarching and coherent theory of change for the APP, but also a renewed political analysis of the organisations and their capacity to deal with new threats to stability, including violent extremism and migration.

Finally, if Denmark decides to continue to support both the AU and the RECs relevant to the Danish priority regions in Africa (i.e. ECOWAS and IGAD), then the evaluation recommends (8) to place the management responsibility, including the responsibility for political dialogue, with the embassies located in physical proximity to the relevant organisations. The embassy in Addis Ababa could act as the overall programme manager for the APP.


This page forms part of the publication "Evaluation of the Africa Programme for Peace 2004-2017 – November 2018" as executive summary.
Version no. 1.0, 2018-12-13
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/evaluation_africa_programme_for_peace_2004-2017/index.html