President Obama has unveiled a five-year $550 million “rapid response force” plan for Africa today, during the third day of a summit with African heads of state in Washington.
The program is to begin this year with an initial $65 million in military subsidies to African Union member nations Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia.
The plan will eventually expand to include other AU member nations and will cost $110 million annually, with hopes of increasing their military capacity for launching AU and UN “peacekeeping” missions.
Several of the nations included in the plan are nations whose militaries have poor human rights records, and nations like Mali have usually been on the receiving end of UN operations as opposed to suppliers. The US is keen to increase the size of these militaries and, no doubt, get them used to using US-exported arms.
At one point the US had designs on dramatically growing their own military presence in Africa, by way of AFRICOM, though they appear to have scrapped that idea in favor of propping up proxies in the region.