Security and Justice Systems in Francophone and Anglophone Africa

As the concept and practical application of Security Sector Reform becomes more established within the international community, there is increasing recognition of the need both bilaterally and multilaterally to avoid adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach; and to ensure that each security sector transformation intervention is grounded in the context in which it is being enacted.

One of the obstacles to achieving a contextually appropriate approach to date has been the lack of understanding and appreciation of the differences between Anglophone and Francophone security and justice systems, particularly in Africa. This has resulted in inappropriate interventions by the international community at the strategic, operational and tactical level with programmes being poorly designed, and those engaged in delivering them lacking the skills required to facilitate successful implementation. It has also undermined the international communities’ attempts to increase the effectiveness of multilateral interventions, through such entities as the EU, UN and associated regional organisations.

In an attempt to address the difficulties experienced to date, a series of conversations has taken place between interested British and French stakeholders regarding the identification of potential areas of collaboration designed to improve our understanding of the differences between the two approaches and how best to mutually reinforce each others’ ambitions to improve the effectiveness of EU and UN security and justice interventions.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this project is to address the issues outlined above through a series of outputs aimed at increasing awareness within the British and French Governments of the similarities and differences between the Anglophone and Francophone security and justice systems, how potential programmatic interventions need to adapt to accommodate the differences identified, and how to best facilitate a regional approach to security that accounts for the differences in national systems.

It is important to note that it is not the intention in analysing Anglophone and Francophone security and justice systems to evaluate or compare the activities that have been undertaken to date. The principle aim of this work is to increase understanding within the international community of the differences between the two systems, which it is hoped will result in more effective collective responses to the needs of the countries concerned.


The main outputs will be threefold:

  1. An outline of the key actors and functions within both Anglophone and Francophone security and justice systems, identifying the main similarities and differences within each and between them.
  2. Identify the programmatic implications of these differences for bilateral security and justice interventions in the form of a series of recommendations for Anglophone and Francophone advisory and programme staff working in post-conflict, fragile and developing country environments in Anglophone and Francophone Africa.
  3. A presentation of the above outputs at an event for international donors working on security and justice issues at HQ and field level in mid-to late 2008 during the French Presidency of the EU. 

The final outputs will be published in both English and French.

Project details

start date
3 March 2008
end date
30 June 2008


About this project