Hybrid Security Arrangements in Africa: Exploring the Implications for State-building

In the aftermath of war and conflict, state security forces and institutions are often severely weakened or decimated. When this happens, multiple state and non-state security actors and governance structures emerge to fill security vacuums. The term "hybrid" is often applied to security arrangements in these contexts to describe Africa's complex security governance structures. It is also used to explain the decision-making processes and distribution of power that characterizes the security sector in these contexts. This project will explore the conditions under which hybrid security arrangements can help build more effective and accountable security governance frameworks in African countries in conflict. The research teams will: -uncover how the security sector functions; -assess the limits of conventional approaches; and, -document the complex relationship between formal and informal institutions in this sector. The African Security Sector Network will implement the project in six African conflict-affected and post-conflict countries: Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan. Some of these involve case studies that seek to explore the key debates surrounding hybrid national security sectors (Côte d'Ivoire, South Sudan). Others will explore themes and analyze specific facets and impacts of hybridity in those contexts. This includes, for example, informal policing in Nigeria, gender and policing in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and sexual rights and citizenship in South Africa. The research teams will examine each case and provide evidence to help improve security sector reforms in conflict and violence-affected countries in Africa.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Friday, October 5, 2018


36 months

IDRC Officer

Ramata Thioune

Total funding

CA$ 700,000


Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South of Sahara, South Sudan


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Professor Eboe Hutchful


African Security Sector Network

Institution Country


Institution Website