Advancing Military Professionalism in Africa

In the latest ACSS Research Paper , "Advancing Military Professionalism in Africa," Colonel (ret.) Emile Ouédraogo explores the causes of the persistent challenges of professionalism facing many African militaries. Drawing on his experience as a parliamentarian, minister, scholar, peacekeeper, and soldier, Col. Ouédraogo highlights the political and economic disincentives to professionalism that have shaped many of Africa's armed forces. This has resulted in ambiguity over the mission, priorities, and oversight of African militaries. Perhaps most damaging has been the adversarial role that has developed between many African militaries and citizens.

Col. Ouédraogo argues that such outcomes are not inevitable. Some African militaries have demonstrated commendable levels of professionalism. Making this the standard, however, will require a sharp break with past practices. Greater investments in repurposing the military's mandate, depoliticizing the environment in which militaries operate, strengthening oversight mechanisms, and cultivating a deeper ethical foundation within military culture will all be needed. (Click here to access the paper.

ACSS Research Papers present policy-relevant analysis on topics of pressing importance to Africa's security. Previous ACSS research publications can be downloaded at:

French and Portuguese translations of this report will be sent to subscribers shortly and will be available on the Africa Center's website at:

First-time readers can also sign up to ACSS distribution lists at:


icon Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike