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Arms Flows to Sub-Saharan Africa
Pieter D. Wezeman, Siemon T. Wezeman and Lucie Béraud-Sudreau
SIPRI Policy Paper no. 30
ISBN 978-91-85114-69-6

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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.

Read the press release here


1. Introduction
2. Arms transfers to sub-Saharan Africa, 2006–10
3. Recipient states' transparency in arms procurement
4. Arms transfers and conflict
5. Conclusions
Appendix A. Transfers of small arms and light weapons to sub-Saharan Africa
Appendix B. Arms exports from the European Union to sub-Saharan Africa

Related publications

A series of background papers accompanies this report, produced for the SIPRI Project on Monitoring Arms Flows to Africa and Assessing the Practical Regional and National Challenges and Possibilities for a Relevant and Functioning Arms Trade Treaty. The project is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Israeli arms transfers to sub-Saharan Africa, Siemon T. Wezeman, October 2011
Arms transfers to Zimbabwe: implications for an arms trade treaty, Lukas Jeuck, March 2011
Ukrainian arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa, Paul Holtom, February 2011
South African arms supplies to sub-Saharan Africa, Pieter D. Wezeman, January 2011
Arms flows and the conflict in Somalia, Pieter D. Wezeman, October 2010

About the authors

Pieter D. Wezeman (Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme. From 2003 to 2006 he was a Senior Analyst for the Dutch Ministry of Defence in the field of proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapon technology.

Siemon T. Wezeman (Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, where he has worked since 1992. Among his publications are several relating to international transparency in arms transfers.

Lucie Béraud-Sudreau (France) is a Research Assistant with the Centre d’études européennes of Sciences Po, Paris. She studied political science and international relations at Sciences Po Bordeaux and was an intern at SIPRI in 2010–11.

Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-69-6
viii+49 pp.
December 2011
Price: €7.50 per copy plus €5 shipping and handling per order


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