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The African Security Sector Network (ASSN) was founded in 2003 to help harmonise the various African organisations carrying out activities in the general area of security sector reform, transformation and governance. It began its existence as a semi-formal network composed of experts working in the area of African Security Sector Reform (SSR). In 2009 it became a registered organisation with a fulltime secretariat and a separate identity from its individual and organisational members. Its membership has since grown to include individuals and organisations from all parts of Africa. In terms of geographical scope, the network has expanded beyond its original Anglophone constituency to make inroads into Francophone and Lusophone Africa. It has also gained recognition as the main point of contact for SSR research, policy and practice in Africa, with its slew of partners now including the African Union and the United Nations.
ASSN was founded in response to the perception that for political and technical reasons, management and governance of security in Africa have historically been deeply flawed. Many ongoing conflicts and human rights abuses are driven by poor accountability in the security sector; poor governance of this sector continues to pose a major constraint on peace-building and the consolidation of Africa’s fragile democracies; and local ownership of security sector reform (SSR) has been a sticking issue, with most SSR programs in place originating (in both concept and design) from outside the continent. The reform of this sector is clearly essential if these challenges are to be overcome.
The most central feature of the ASSN strategy is its ‘Africanised’ approach, which involves drawing primarily from indigenous knowledge, expertise and resources to design SSR programmes that are both pragmatic and sustainable.
What We Do
Our fundamental objective is to facilitate progress towards the achievement of effective and democratically governed security sectors across the African continent. We pursue this mission by spearheading and implementing programmes aimed at strengthening the capacities of African governments, national security institutions, parliaments, intergovernmental organisations and civil society groups to undertake and own SSR programmes. ASSN also strives to expand the concept of African SSR through sustained research, publication and training.
The driving vision of ASSN is that of an African security sector that is democratically governed, people-centred, well managed, accountable and effective in supporting and sustaining human security.
Democratically governed and effective security for the peoples of Africa.