When providing security assistance (SA) to countries in the Sahel, both the USA and Europe have taken insufficient account of informality within the recipient countries’ security sectors. This is a main reason why the SA has not had a lasting strategic impact in terms of improved capacity and professionalism among recipients. When dealing with informality, SA providers confront difficult dilemmas as they seek to balance their need for strategic impact with their desire to impose a Western approach to security sector management. For SA to have a lasting impact, its providers must first appraise how recipient security sectors, which in many cases are qualitatively different from their own, actually work, and then calibrate their activities and goals based on the appraisal.
Rolandsen, Øystein H. & Niagalé Bagayoko (2023) A Hidden Conundrum: Security Assistance and Informality in the Sahel, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.