Since 1993, the United States has partnered with 31 nations across the African continent to save lives and prevent injuries through conventional weapons destruction programs that safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in countries struggling to recover from armed conflict. The U.S. works with regional governments to dispose of excess small arms, light weapons, and munitions and secure remaining weapons stocks from potential diversion and illicit proliferation. Our $342 million investment in conventional weapons destruction across the African continent has saved lives as well as set the stage for humanitarian aid and development assistance.
U.S. support, along with support from our international partners, helped Nigeria and Burundi to declare themselves mine-free in 2011, and Uganda to declare itself landmine impact-free in 2012. With more than $53 million in U.S. aid, Mozambique, once among the world’s most landmine-affected nations, is also on track to declare itself mine-free by the end of next year.
Current U.S.-funded humanitarian demining programs include projects in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.
Securing Small Arms and Light Weapons
The U.S. Government assists African partners in securing or destroying surplus, obsolete, or poorly-secured conventional arms and ammunition, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).
Since 2001, the United States has funded the destruction of over 250,000 small arms and light weapons (SA/LW), and the unique marking of over 350,000 more to improve tracking and accountability in 24 African nations.
The United States has invested $2.2 million to purchase weapons marking machines in support of the Regional Centre on Small Arms in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa (RECSA), a 15-nation regional initiative to address small arms proliferation. RECSA is based in Kenya and also works in Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. RECSA has marked more than 350,000 SA/LW with this equipment, and Rwanda and Seychelles have finished marking all police equipment.
In the Sahel, the United States is working closely with Niger and other regional partners to address increased security challenges from SA/LW trafficking in the aftermath of the 2011 conflict in Libya. The United States has invested almost $1 million to help Niger right-size its SA/LW and munitions stockpile and improve physical security of arms storage sites, and plans to expand training and support efforts with countries in the region. These efforts will contribute to U.S. peace and security efforts through increased national capacity to secure SA/LW and work toward reductions of weapons available for illicit trafficking.
Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $2.3 billion in aid to more than 90 countries for conventional weapons destruction. To learn more about U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction programs, including humanitarian demining, check out the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.
For additional information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov.