Combating Illicit Small Arms Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa
Burkina Faso’s population has a ratio of gun owners to all civilians of 1.1 to 1001 which is extremely low compared to other nations around the world. Although in contrast to that number, only 0.01 out of every 100 guns are properly registered with the correct authority; clearly showing that most guns held by civilians are obtained illegally. This shows that Burkina Faso indeed is a part of the problem and also needs to be a part of the solution. Because having unregistered guns causes more gun-related deaths, this problem needs to be addressed in order to achieve stability in Burkina Faso and the region. There are around $1 billion dollars worth in small arms goods goes through Sub-Saharan Africa yearly and because of all of the regional unrest this illegal trade only contributes to the perpetual destabilization of the region.
Burkina Faso’s position was clearly stated by their United Nations representative, François Oubida2, that Burkina Faso is against the illegal distribution and selling of small arms, especially to rebel groups. Burkina Faso supports the 2011 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, but has major concerns with its enforcement. The primary worry of Burkina Faso is the monetary aspect of the Programme. They fear that there will not be enough money available to be used to enforce the regulations and removal efforts of these illegal weapons. Burkina Faso recognizes that this is an important issue and wants it to be handled correctly and efficiently because it directly affects their people and their economy. Through the proper use of the Programme, along with the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty, Burkina Faso believes that it is possible to make citizens safer and to further decrease the power that rebel groups have in the region, therefore, strengthening governments.
Burkina Faso does not have the ability to finance this Programme because it does not have the funds to do so, if this plan were to be implemented in Burkina Faso a great deal of foreign aid would be necessary in order for this to work. Because of their lack of funding, Burkina Faso does not prioritize the elimination of illegal arms trading because what money Burkina Faso does have it used for more immediate needs, such as food or education. However, Burkina Faso does stand behind this Programme and the Arms Trade Treaty and would like to see it implemented in order to achieve a higher level of safety in their country and in the surrounding region as a whole.