The Africa Union Commission (AUC) will hold a pledging conference for Mali January 29, 2013, the Director of Peace and Security Department at the AU, Wane El Ghassim told the media at a press briefing.

According to the him, pledges have already been made by a number of African countries mostly from the ECOWAS region. He aslo indicated that the commitment from governments in the region is strong but there are challenges as well, ?We are being challenged mainly with funding and logistics,? he said.

Mr. Ghassim estimated the cost of the mission will be close to $300 million considering former peace keeping missions such as AMISOM in Somalia and UNAMID in Darfur.

Non-COMESA countries, Chad and Burundi have already promised troops under the AU to be deployed to Mali. The AU plans to deploy 3500 troops to replace the French forces in Mali for peace keeping.

Meanwhile, the French forces are indicating that 1000 African troops have already been deployed in Mali and faster than expected, according to news reports. 15 West African Nations under ECOWAS have committed to deploy troops after authorization from the UN.

The recently appointed chairperson of the AUC, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma opening the Foreign Minister?s meeting at the AU Summit said that the Conflict in Mali needs the close attention of the AU.

Source: ?Emnet Assefa /GhanaBusinessNews.com

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