There is no consensus on whether ammunition should be included in the scope of the international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Most states support its inclusion and point towards the negative impact of irresponsible and poorly controlled transfers of ammunition. The insecurity and tremendous human suffering associated with such transfers in the context of armed violence in Africa are a case in point.
A few states, however, oppose the inclusion of ammunition in the ATT and argue that controlling international ammunition transfers would be unfeasible and highly cost-intensive. This report discusses the challenges of ammunition controls in Africa against the background of the international discussions on the ATT. It demonstrates that concerns regarding ammunition-inclusion in the ATT are unfounded. It also argues that complementary action will be required by African stakeholders and their international partners to strengthen ammunition controls in the region.
Holger Anders is a consultant on arms control with several years of work experience in sub-Saharan Africa, including as expert monitoring the implementation of a UN arms embargo. He holds post-graduate degrees in peace studies and international relations and has published and presented widely at global and regional levels in Europe and Africa on the scope for action to combat illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition.