Analysing the evolution of private military companies in Africa since the 1990s

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Security challenges have been a longstanding challenge in many African countries. These challenges can be borne out of ethnical differences, religious extremism, political competition and grievances over governance. It is the state’s responsibility to contain insecurity in its territory. However, many African states fall short of this vital task. A government’s inability to address security challenges in their territory may lead to a crisis of internal and externa ldisplacement of their civilians, which could have ripple effects on neighbouring states and, most importantly, loss of human life. Many African countries experience political instability and violent conflict, which are features of fragile states. Traditionally, when conflicts are triggered, and African states cannot contain them alone, organisations such as the United Nations(UN) assist those nations. However, there has been a shift in how certain African governments respond to security challenges in their countries by hiring Private Military Companies (PMCs). PMCs are businesses that provide military-oriented services to clients. Clients of PMCs range from companies, mines, non-profit organisations, and governments. PMCs such as Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) and the Wagner Group are found across the African continent, operating in Libya, Mali, Mozambique and the Central African Republic (CAR). Even nations such as Nigeria, traditionally regarded as having solid militaries, have employed PMCs. PMCs are often criticised by a wide range of civil society and some governments due to the nature of their work. PMCs are an ever-evolving security apparatus in African conflicts. The two inter-connectedquestions this thesis will address to understand their evolution are ‘Why have certain African governments employed PMCs?’ and ‘How has the involvement of PMCs in African conflicts affectedconflict outcomes? To answer these questions, this study utilises a comparative case study design focusing on four countries that have made use of PMCs. These countries are Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Mozambique and the CAR. The primary PMCs discussed in this thesis are Executive Outcomes (EO), Specialised, Task, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), DAG and the Wagner Group. The study is qualitative desktop research that utilises secondary data. Fragile state theory is used to illustrate how the fragile statehood of certain African states leads to increased engagement with PMCs. Although PMCs are an unconventional and controversial security tool, African governments continue associating themselves with them. This is despite the political implications which may befall them. These companies, much like any other multinational corporation operating in Africa, have their positive and negative contributions where they are active.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Veiligheidsuitdagings is 'n langdurige struikelblok in baie Afrikalande. Hierdie uitdagingskan voortspruit uit etniese verskille, godsdienstige ekstremisme, politieke kompetisie en ontevredenheid oor regering. Dit is die staat se verantwoordelikheid om onsekerheid in sy grondgebied te beheer. Tog skiet baie Afrikalande te kort in hierdie noodsaaklike taak. 'n Regeringse onvermoë om veiligheidsuitdagings in hul grondgebied aan te spreek, kan lei tot 'n krisis van interne en eksterne verplasing van hul burgers, wat rippel-effekte op naburige state en, nog belangriker, verlies van menslike lewe kan hê. Baie Afrikalande ervaar politieke onstabiliteit engewelddadige konflik, wat eienskappe van brose state is. Tradisioneel, wanneer konflikte ontstaan en Afrikalande dit nie alleen kan beheer nie, help organisasies soos die Verenigde Nasies (VN) daardie nasies. Tog is daar 'n verskuiwing in hoe sekere Afrika-regerings reageer opveiligheidsuitdagings in hul lande deur Privaat Militêre Maatskappye (PMM's) in diens te neem. PMM's is besighede wat militêr-georiënteerde dienste aan kliënte verskaf. Kliënte van PMM's sluitmaatskappye, myne, nie-winsgewende organisasies en regerings in. PMM's soos Dyck Advisory Group (DAG) en die Wagner Group is regoor die Afrikakontinent aktief in Libië, Mali, Mosambiek en die Sentraal- Afrikaanse Republiek (CAR). Selfs nasies soos Nigerië, wat tradisioneel beskou word as een met 'n sterk militêre mag, het PMM's in diens geneem. PMM's word dikwels vermy vanweë die aard van hul werk en hoe hulle gebrek aan deursigtigheid in hul operasies het. PMM's is 'n voortdurend evoluerende veiligheidsapparaat in Afrikakonflikte. Die twee vrae wathierdie tesis sal aanspreek om hul evolusie te verstaan, is 'Hoekom het sekere Afrika- regeringsPMM's in diens geneem?' en 'Hoe het die betrokkenheid van PMM's by Afrikakonfliktekonflik-uitkomste beïnvloed?' Om hierdie vrae te beantwoord, maak hierdie studie gebruik van 'nvergelykende gevallestudie-ontwerp wat fokus op vier lande wat met PMM's betrokke is. Hierdie lande is Sierra Leone, Nigerië, Mosambiek en die CAR. Executive Outcomes (EO) Specialised Task, Training, Equipment and Protection International (STTEP), DAG en Wagner Group is die PMM wat hierdie tesis sal fokus op. Die studie is 'n kwalitatiewe tafelbladnavorsing wat sekondêre data gebruik. Die teorie van brose staat word gebruik om aan te toon hoe die brosheid van sekere Afrika-staatshoedePMM's toelaat om hulle te penetreer. Alhoewel PMM's 'n onkonvensionele en kontroversiëleveiligheidshulpmiddel is, gaan Afrika-regerings voort om hulle daarmee te assosieer. Dit is ten spyte van die politieke implikasies wat hulle mag tref. Hierdie maatskappye, soos enige ander multinasionale korporasie wat in Afrika opereer, het hul positiewe en negatiewe bydraes waar hulle aktief is.
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2023.