From Mercenaries to Market: Africa and PMCs

I contributed a chapter, along with my co-author Angela McIntyre, to the book “Weak Governments in Search of Strength: Africa’s experience of mercenaries and private military companies”, edited by Simon Chesterman and Chia Lenhardt, From Mercenaries to Market: The Rise and Regulation of Private Military Companies, London: Oxford University Press, 2007. The book is available in paperback on

The chapter seeks to illustrate change and continuity in the use of private force on the African continent, and argues that Private Military Companies (PMCs) are sometimes used to safeguard commercial interests that are the very source of discontent in local politics, leading to complications in regulation at the nexus of states, multinational corporations, and exploitation of natural resources.

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Cycles of Conflict in the Mano River Basin

The Mano River Basin is perhaps best known for the Revolutionary United Front’s campaign of amputation during Sierra Leone ’s civil war from 1991 to 2002. The area encompassed by Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea is rich in diamonds, timber, and cocoa, but incredibly poor in governance, stability, and literacy. There are a number of complexly interwoven threats to the fragile peace in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and to the difficult stalemate in Côte d’Ivoire. Broadly, these threats are driven by three overarching and interlinked themes: the movement of displaced people; the failure to reintegrate and return them to their homes in the post-conflict context; and the influence of illicit trade.

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Perpetrating Power: Small Arms in Sierra Leone & Liberia

How can the trafficking of small arms be stopped in Sierra Leone and Liberia? This research looks at the factors behind the demand for weapons in these countries. It argues that policy makers should focus on the buyer side of the market to determine creative ways of stopping proliferation. Only through political empowerment, infrastructure development, and economic alternatives will the flow of illegal small arms and light weapons be stemmed in these countries.

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