This paper examines the current challenges posed by illicit arms flows in Africa and responses by the AU and regional organisations.

The future of Africa’s development is intrinsically linked to the continent’s ability to take charge of its peace and security. The African Union (AU) Commission is best placed to lead this process. However, the organisation and its member states have continuously been challenged by the widespread and uncontrolled flow of arms and ammunition. The AU Commission and its affiliated sub-regional organisations have put into place a number of initiatives and mechanisms that align their efforts with global processes, but Africa is yet to fully enjoy the dividends of these measures. This paper reviews the achievements attained so far, explores some of the drivers of the demand for arms and identifies recommendations for bolstering existing efforts.