Africa Union is campaigning to end conflict in Africa through a campaign dubbed: silencing the guns by 2020.
During the celebrations of 50 years of African Union, it was agreed that conflict is one of the biggest challenges facing Africa. These conflicts are now barriers towards achieving Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Other challenges facing Africa are: corruption, poverty, inequality, climate change, unemployment and illegal financial flows. However, conflicts are the largest impediments of development in Africa.
In 2013, the AU adopted the “Silencing the guns by 2020” in order to avoid passing on these conflicts to future generations.
Since 2014, the guns have real been silenced in the previous hotspots such as Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire. Milestones have also been achieved in South Sudan and Somalia.
Despite the efforts by the African Union, there are cases of violent extremism in Sahel, Somalia and Kenya. Some guns are also smoking in Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Libya and South Sudan.
Who owns the guns in Africa?
According to Small Arms Survey (SAS), an estimated 80% of small arms in Africa are in the hands of civilians. There are an excess of 40 million light weapons in the hands of rebel groups, civilians and militias. Government entities such as the police and military own just 11 million of the guns.
Source of guns in Africa
In 2018, Africa spent $40.2 billion on military out which North Africa spent $22.2 billion and Sub Saharan Africa spent $18.8 billion as military expenditure.
Between 2014-2018, Ukraine, Russia, China, France and German were the top suppliers of guns to Africa. Egypt, Morocco and Algeria were the leading recipients of those guns.
Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
The guns are received as gifts, produced under license by African states or sales. It is also important to note that 22 African states manufacture light weapons and guns.
There are artisanal home made guns are also available in the African Continent. African governments are not able to control illegal firearms due to porous borders.