Development and Peace Blog

Transnational Governance & Contestation

25.01.2021   Markus Bayer Private military companies and African security governance: Can the revival of a well-known actor change security arrangements in Africa?

A few years ago, it seemed that a new Russian interventionism would replace the Western one. After their engagement in Syria, which bolstered Assad’s rule and the successful annexation of the Crimea, Russia seemed to be capable and willing to stretch their sphere of influence through military interventions. Key to these endeavors were private military companies (PMC) like the Slavonic Corps or the Wagner Group. Now, a well-known PMC reentered the stage that could challenge not only Russian but also Western rivals and could induce an Africanization of Security Governance in Africa. On 7 December 2020 Eeben Barlow – a former South African commandant and military contractor – announced the reactivation of Executive Outcomes (EO). To assess the transformative potential of this reactivation for African security governance, it is helpful to consider the past engagement of other PMCs on the African continent, especially the failure of the Wagner Group.

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