Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Arms Flows to Sub-Saharan Africa

Pieter D. Wezeman, Siemon T. Wezeman, Lucie Béraud-Sudreau

December 2011

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute


Concerns regarding arms transfers to sub-Saharan Africa are widespread and have motivated worldwide efforts to control arms flows. Although volumes of arms transferred to the region are low by global standards, even supplies of relatively small quantities of older weapons can have a notable impact on conflicts. This detailed report provides a tour d'horizon of recent developments in arms transfers to both governments and rebel groups in sub-Saharan Africa. It highlights the secrecy that surrounds arms procurement decisions, which hinders assessments of whether arms are being acquired for legitimate reasons and will contribute to the peace and security of sub-Saharan Africa.