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In 2021, U.S. investments in conventional weapons destruction (CWD) in Africa contributed to lasting security and economic growth in areas where explosive hazards hinder the safe return of displaced people, access to water sources, and limit the safety and socioeconomic growth of local civilian populations.  Unexploded ordnance (UXO), or even the suspected presence of explosive hazards, limits agriculture and local economic development in places like Angola and Zimbabwe.  Poorly secured state-held stockpiles of obsolete or excess small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) pose a risk of fueling violence and threatening civilians if acquired by terrorists, transnational criminal organizations, and other destabilizing actors.  U.S. partners across the region are working to reduce the accessibility of illicit SA/LW and improvised explosive device (IED) components by destroying excess and obsolete munitions.  U.S. assistance also helps secure government inventories of SA/LW by building or refurbishing armories and depots, marking weapons for inventory and tracing purposes, and providing training in stockpile management.  These initiatives help partner governments improve security sector governance, enhance accountability, and prevent munitions from being lost or stolen.

Since 1993, the United States has provided more than $538 million to support CWD programs throughout Africa to return previously contaminated land to safe and prosperous use, inhibit the illicit trafficking of SA/LW, and support government efforts to secure their stockpiles.

Physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) support helps secure and properly manage conventional weapons and ammunition stockpiles, preventing illicit diversions and accidental depot explosions.  This assistance resulted in the following achievements in 2021:

  • 62 munitions storage units were built or refurbished in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, and Somalia
  • 401 individuals were trained in PSSM in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Somalia, Rwanda, and Tanzania
  • 8,999 excess and obsolete SA/LW were destroyed in Angola, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, and Kenya
  • 2,544 weapons were marked for tracing purposes in Burkina Faso and Chad
  • 27.56 metric tons of stockpiled ammunition were destroyed in Angola, Chad, and Guinea-Bissau
  • 2,783 items of small arms ammunition were destroyed in Somalia

Since 1993, humanitarian demining support to African countries restored cleared land to productive use and destroyed landmines and UXO.  This assistance resulted in the following achievements in 2021:

  • 5,748,947 square meters (1,421 acres) of land was released for safe and productive use in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe
  • 26,400 individuals received explosive ordnance risk education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe
  • 14,036 landmines were destroyed in Somalia and Zimbabwe
  • 1,640 items of UXO were destroyed in Somalia and South Sudan

The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to clear landmines and explosive remnants of war.  Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $4.2 billion in more than 100 countries around the world to reduce the harmful worldwide effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war.  For more information on U.S. humanitarian demining and CWD programs, see the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.

For additional information or to request a printed copy of To Walk the Earth in Safety, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, at pm-cpa@state.gov, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM. The report is also available on the Department of State website at https://www.state.gov/to-walk-the-earth-in-safety/.

U.S. Department of State

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