Effective weapons and ammunition management (WAM) can reduce the number of illicit conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons, and ammunition in circulation, prevent their diversion to unauthorized users, and mitigate the risk of unplanned explosions of munitions. WAM can thereby contribute to preventing armed conflicts and violence, including gender-based violence, as well as the maintenance of peace and the achievement of socioeconomic and development goals.

By early 2024, 15 states – including 12 African states – have assessed and made efforts to strengthen their national frameworks governing the management of conventional weapons and ammunition throughout their life cycle using UNIDIR’s Reference Methodology for National WAM Baseline Assessments. UNIDIR has identified 10 key functional areas for WAM, including a national coordination mechanism and a legal and regulatory framework, as well as measures to be taken to control transfers, manage stockpiles, ensure accountability through marking and record-keeping, dealing with illicit arms and ammunition, and final disposal. 

This is the third annual update by UNIDIR to recognize the progress made to strengthen WAM policies and practices by those 12 African states. This update provides an initial comparative analysis of progress made across the regional baseline of WAM policy and practice. It sheds light on persistent as well as context-specific challenges encountered by States in strengthening their national WAM frameworks. The update presents national examples of activities and progress made in oftentimes challenging environments from 2023 to early 2024 in the 10 key WAM functional areas.

The exchange of good practices and lessons learned in strengthening WAM policy and practice in Africa seeks to enhance the knowledge of States, regional organisations and international partners on ways to establish and implement comprehensive national and regional frameworks governing the full lifecycle of arms and ammunition.

UNIDIR encourages the Community of States, regional organisations and relevant international partners to consult its WAM Country Insight and Annual Update series as a useful reference to support the planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation for future WAM projects.

Citation: Theò Bajon, “Weapons and Ammunition Management in Africa Insight: 2024 Update”, UNIDIR, Geneva, 2024. https://doi.org/10.37559/CAAP/24/WAM/07