Thursday, June 3, 2010

France to spend 300 Million Euros on training 12K African troops for peacekeeping (UPDATED)

At the 25th France-Africa summit, President Sarkozy announced that France would spend 300 million Euros to train 12,000 African troops for deployment to peacekeeping operations in Africa. He said the training would occur between now and 2012. Sorry all the links are in French--if you find something in English, I can update up here if you put it in the comments.

Now you might remember that back in 2004, at the G8 summit, the US had announced that it would train 75,000 peacekeepers, mostly from Africa, by 2010. GPOI (the Global Peace Operations Initiative), was supposed to be a G8 initiative and France and the UK had promised to help. As far as I know, that hadn't happened until now. Anyway, for the US, GPOI ended up costing about 90 million per year (if you want a breakdown on the numbers, Nina Serafino, from the Congressional Research Service has a nice chart here).

A couple questions: how does 300 million only pay for 12,000 troops to be trained--this seems way more expensive that US efforts (and don't get me started on how little the State Department knows about how well the training works or not)? Does anyone know how the training will be different? Does France plan on giving these troops a LOT more stuff than the US hands out as part of its own effort? Does that number include actually paying for these soldiers to fly to places and set up bases etc?

I understand that France sees providing this training as a way to decrease its own role in peacekeeping in Africa (which with ongoing withdrawal from Chad/CAR and a much small presence in Ivory Coast is already down a lot). Sarkozy also said the troops could help combat piracy (though how 300M gets you anywhere in terms of naval capacity I'm not sure). Anyway, given France's need for decreasing its deficit (and bailing out Greece...) what does this look like to all of you?

UPDATE: Gulliver reminds me that GPOI was renewed for another five years and that the initial effort exceeded the 75K goals and reached 85K instead. Friends at GAO who work on GPOI point out that GPOI hasn't been able to figure out how much impact the training has had on the performance of deployed troops.

6 comments:

  1. I think these paragraphs used every acronym but RBI and DOA.

    SNLII

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is 25,000 Euro really that much over this time period?

    ReplyDelete
  3. SNLII (what does that stand for anyway, I can't remember)...CAR=Central African Republic, GAO=Government Accountability Office.

    Schmedlap-- it's 300 million Euro for 2.5 years so it's quite a bit I think. GPOI, as far as I know, did not overspend its 90 million US/year for the first five years (I just checked no money for GPOI in supplementals for those years) and remember that this coincides with a period where the Euro was worth a lot more than 1.22 (as it was when I checked ten minutes ago). Also, France spends 45 billion/year on defense.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I understood the acronymns, Lil, but a general reader might not.

    SNLII (Snot Nosed Little Idiotic Idiot)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gulliver reminds me that GPOI was renewed for another five years and that the initial effort exceeded the 75K goals and reached 85K instead.

    87K!

    Friends at GAO who work on GPOI point out that GPOI hasn't been able to figure out how much impact the training has had on the performance of deployed troops.

    It's generally true that we don't know how to effectively assess the impact/utility of providing either training or equipment. Other forms of security cooperation are only very slightly less difficult to assess.

    That said, there are 87K peacekeepers now that there weren't before, and that's something.

    ReplyDelete
  6. SNLII--good point.

    Gulliver--87K, got it. I agree 87K more is better than not having them in the first place. I think we should be training more troops for this purpose. Still, I think it's important to know whether once they get there, they actually do a decent job.

    ReplyDelete