Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Advancing Military Professionalism in Africa

Emile Ou├ędraogo

July 2014

Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Vivid examples of weak military professionalism in Africa are regularly evident in news accounts of instability on the continent. Militaries collapsing in the face of attacks by irregular forces, coups, mutinies, looting, human rights abuses against civilian populations, corruption, and engagement in illicit trafficking activities are widespread. This pattern persists decades after the end of colonialism, despite billions of dollars of security sector assistance and longstanding rhetoric on the need to strengthen civil-military relations on the continent. The costs for not having established strong professional militaries are high: persistent instability, chronic poverty, deterred investment and stunted democratization.