The Impact of Military Aid on Conflict Resolution, Prevention and Stability in the Sahel and Horn of Africa

Led by Øystein H. Rolandsen
Jan 2018 - Dec 2018

​This project aims to advance the understanding of what the impact of military aid is on peace, conflict and stability. The project will look specifically at three conflict clusters in northern Africa: 1) the Horn of Africa (the fragile states of Somalia and South Sudan), 2) Libya, Mali and neighboring states, and 3) Nigeria and Cameroon. 

​The provision of military aid is the most common policy tool used by Western states attempting to influence conflict and security in recipient countries. The aid includes donation of training, weapons, other military equipment, non-military stores (e.g. fuel), and other services (e.g. intelligence), to the armed forces as well as coast guards and border guards. Compared to other forms of intervention, military aid is considered economical, sustainable and easy to adapt to the local context. In addition, these programs are usually popular with recipient governments.

However, very little is known about the effectiveness and consequences of providing military aid, including that provided by Norway and its allies in NATO and similar countries. The greatest potential for negative effects occur when military aid is given to government armies in fragile states, and to non-state armed groups operating in such environments, where lack of institutional oversight and control increase the likelihood of unintended consequences. The project team intends to create a better informed policy-making, decision-making and public debate. It will specifically do so through assessing the effects of military aid, outlining a list of the potential unintended consequences, and sketching the circumstances in which effects intended by donors and recipients occur, and what makes unintended consequences more likely.


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Marsh, Nicholas & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2021) Fragmented We Fall: Security Sector Cohesion and the Impact of Foreign Security Force Assistance in Mali, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2021.1988226: 614–629.

Conference Paper

Marsh, Nicholas & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2018) The impact of foreign security force assistance on security and governance in Mali, presented at Workshop on Security Force Assistance in Fragile States, Peace Research Institute Oslo, 5–7 December.

PRIO Paper

Marsh, Nicholas; Øystein H. Rolandsen; Julian Karssen & Marie Sandnes (2020) Compounding Fragmentation: Security Force Assistance to Fragile States in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.