Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) and national security in Africa

Authored by: Bashir Bala , Usman A. Tar

The Routledge Handbook of Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Africa

Print publication date:  January  2021
Online publication date:  January  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138575394
eBook ISBN: 9781351271929
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351271929-40

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Abstract

This chapter anchors on the assumption that, as private auxiliary pillars of national security, PMSCs have emerged and expanded beyond national and regional boundaries. The chapter attempts to contextualise the framework of issues bordering on the operations, development, and challenges peculiar to the private security sector in Africa. This chapter first argues that the vibrancy of civil society and emergence of violent opposition regimes challenging the prolonged dictatorship of some African politicians in a number of African states have led to the invitation and intervention of the PMSCs; to provide their firepower and professionalism to quench the threats to national security. Secondly, it argues that the lack of capabilities and capacities by national forces to ensure public safety and security in African states has yielded the unprecedented growth and expansion of the services of both the Private Security Companies (PSCs) and the PMSCs. Thirdly, the chapter also argues that a strong regulatory and policy framework is a necessary requisite for checking the activities of PMSCs at the national level, while effective overlapping and interlocking of national, regional as well as international frameworks are needed to impose global control regulation on PMSCs; as the existing laws at an international level are insufficient. The chapter then underscores the various services offered by these companies with a view to understanding the nature of their operations and then looks into the issues bordering on their activities that tend to have one impact or the other on national security in Africa. The chapter further analyses the challenges confronting the PMSCs in Africa and lastly, it concludes that, it has become desirable and essential for the African governments to calibrate the benefits of the PMSCs towards the effective provisioning of national security as the phenomenon of their proliferation has come to stay in Africa as the continent presents some breeding turfs for the companies’ market survivability.

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