NATO and the African Union (AU) took a further step in advancing their cooperation, by signing on 8 May 2014 an agreement which formalizes the status of the NATO liaison office to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The completion of this technical agreement will facilitate greater cooperation between the two organizations in areas of mutual interest such as: strategic air and sea lift, interoperability of multinational forces, individual training, exercise planning, and lessons learned from operations. How to share experiences in implementing United Nations initiatives such as Women, Peace and Security, and Children and Armed Conflict, will also be examined.
The NATO liaison office is the primary point of contact for the Alliance’s activities with the African Union. The office also serves as a NATO military point of contact with partner countries and regional organizations in Africa, as well as with the offices of international organizations accredited to the African Union, including the United Nations and the European Union.
Since 2005, at the request of the African Union (AU), NATO has been providing different forms of support to the AU. Specifically, NATO assisted the AU peace support operation in Darfur, by coordinating strategic airlift and providing staff training. It has also supported the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by providing planning support and strategic air-lift and sea-lift. Another area of cooperation has been in the development of peace-keeping capabilities, in particular the African Standby Force (ASF) brigades.
The AU is a regional organization. It brings together 54 African states.