The independent resource on global security

Arms Flows to Sub-Saharan Africa

Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-69-6
December, 2011

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


Pieter D. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Siemon T. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Dr Lucie Béraud-Sudreau is Director of the Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.