Arms transfer controls The example of French-speaking States in Sub-Saharan Africa
by Virginie Moreau, Cédric Poitevin and Jihan Seniora
In Africa, perhaps more than elsewhere, the lack of common international standards on arms transfers fuel armed violence, whether in war or in crime, and represents a serious obstacle to economic and social development. While the UN Member States are now engaged in negotiating an international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), this GRIP Report provides an overview of the national regulations and practices in the French-speaking States of sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that, in general, these countries do not rely on transfers control systems in line with the current realities of the international arms trade. The lack of transparency and the deficiencies of these systems (or their inexistence) have, on several occasions, facilitated irresponsible or even illegal arms transfers. Nevertheless, many African sub-regions have recently adopted ambitious legal instruments to control small arms and light weapons. These regional instruments can have an important influence in the discussions on the ATT. Finally, the report highlights the challenges that the ATT poses for these countries.