Can Peace Become Affordable? Lessons from security sector expenditure reviews in West Africa

West Africa and the Sahel continue to be plagued by fragility, conflict and violence. Faced with challenges ranging from the spread of Boko Haram to persisting food insecurity, forced displacement, and youth unemployment, the region needs help. In response, the international community has marshalled significant resources to support governments in fostering the essential preconditions for peace – inclusive security and sustainable development. Such tasks can devour the funds of even the most ambitious aid programmes, while the reality of budgetary constraints calls for a constant search for efficiency.

This Brief seeks to answer key questions by analysing the introduction and implementation of the security sector public expenditure review (PER), a public sector governance instrument that assesses the economy, effectiveness and efficiency of governments’ security and defence allocations, including SSR programmes. Developed by the World Bank in partnership with the United Nations, this data-driven assessment tool can facilitate a policy dialogue between civilian administrators, soldiers, and diplomats on the affordability of armies and police, and can therefore maximise the impact of security assistance programmes. Following an overview of security expenditures in West Africa, the Brief outlines the genesis of security sector PERs and highlights lessons learned from implementation in Liberia, Mali and Niger. The conclusion then offers recommendations on how PERs can be applied by the EU to ensure affordability and national ownership of defence and security assistance programmes.

To access the full Brief, Can Peace Become Affordable, please follow the link provided. 

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