Security Privatization and the New Contours of Africa’s Security Governance

Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Mention private security in Africa, and images of mercenaries and heavily armed private soldiers spring readily to mind. Academic analyses, news reports, popular fiction as well as Hollywood films have zoomed in on Africa’s ‘dogs of war’, painting a picture of a continent awash with private soldiers, toppling or propping up governments, looting resources and generally wreaking havoc across already ravaged countries. In International Relations (IR) too, hardly any analysis of security privatization is considered complete without reference to mercenary activities in Africa, especially those of Executive Outcomes (EO), Sandline International and the botched coup of Simon Mann and his planeload of private soldiers headed for Equatorial Guinea in 2004. An almost compulsory corollary of such accounts is a reflection on the relationship between security privatization and the decline of the African state and its sovereignty.


Private Actor Private Security Security Actor City Police Security Sector Reform 
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  1. 2.
    Since the focus of this chapter is the shifting forms of power and authority in security governance, I bracket here the exclusionary effects of the CCID. For a discussion, see R. Abrahamsen and M.C. Williams (2010) Security Beyond the State: Global Security Assemblages in International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Chapter 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Rita Abrahamsen 2012

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