Willing and Able? Challenges to Security Sector Reform in Weak Post-war States – Insights from the Central African Republic


  • Gabriella Ingerstad

Publish date: 2012-10-18

Report number: FOI-R--3470--SE

Pages: 80

Written in: English


  • Central Africa
  • Central African Republic
  • CAR
  • security sector
  • reform
  • SSR
  • DDR
  • Africa
  • African security
  • weak states
  • peacebuilding
  • capacity
  • building
  • local ownership
  • holistic approach


Security sector reform (SSR) is an integral part of the international community's efforts to build peace and enhance security in weak post-war states. It has, however, proven difficult to undertake SSR in such contexts. A number of factors constitute a challenge to create security forces that are able to provide security to the population. Based on previous research, this report highlights some of the challenges to SSR in weak post-war states. Through an analysis of the SSR process in the Central African Republic, this study shows that informal power structures, a volatile security situation and failure to understand how SSR is influenced by other political processes, negatively impact on the prospect for successful implementation of reforms. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that weak capacity and lack of political will on behalf of the national government, is a challenge to local ownership and sustainable reforms. Despite a holistic approach to reforms aiming to improve both the capacity of the security forces and to increase democratic control of the security institutions, insufficient international engagement, scarce resources, lack of strategic direction and inadequate donor coordination have limited the prospect for implementation of reforms.