Why Comply? A comparative analysis of conventional arms control in African states

Debates on conventional arms control in Africa often focus on the illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW). This is also reflected in development projects of international donors. In this context, obstacles to the imple­mentation of arms control regimes are primarily understood as capacity problems.

In his dissertation project Matthias Schwarz goes beyond the focus on capacity by examining the politico-economic reasons that avert compliance in conventional arms control. The focus on capacity is extended by studying the influence of national political structures on compliance. Thus, compliance and imple­mentation are primarily viewed as a political and sociological negotiation process of security politics. Against the background of the Arms Trade Treaty, the UN Programme of Action on SALW and regional arms control agreements, the analysis is opened to the entire range of conventional weapons with a particular focus on procurement transparency.

The research recognises governments not as passive executors but as active shapers of arms control. Hence, international norms are adjusted in national contexts for practical political purposes. The study analyses the respective underlying causes and effects with a focus on informal negotiation processes between governments and their security institutions. The comparison of three African states will provide the empirical basis.