Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

I would like to submit my application

The Liberalisation of Internal Security : Case Study of Private Security Firms in Cameroon, the Proliferation of Small Arms and Consequences on Urban Criminality

Cristopher EKOM student laureate
ekhrys@yahoo.com

°1967 Cameroon
Bachelor’s degree in law, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, 1991

The Liberalisation of Internal Security : Case Study of Private Security Firms in Cameroon, the Proliferation of Small Arms and Consequences on Urban Criminality

The originality of the subject is the first thing that strikes in Christopher Ekom’s work. Security is a problem for many countries and gradually more and more private security firms are used. Sometimes they consist of one or two persons, but they can also grow into real small armies. Considering one can achieve a lot with a small, well-armed and trained crew in a poorly-structured country, one can understand that these private security firms can become a real threat to the development of the country. This also implies that writing about the subject is not evident.
For his work, Mr Ekom has visited and interviewed a lot of these firms himself. Their task specifications do not seem to be clear as yet, which may cause lots of excesses. When the existence of these small firms is allowed by the government, they also get a licence to buy small arms. Seen the limited control, this leads in practice to the proliferation of small arms. The latter are not only used for security purposes, but they also end up in the criminal circuit, which has caused a rise in city delinquency.
Should the occasional utility of private security firms be shown, as the government cannot control everything, still the control on these firms must be sharpened. The way the proliferation presents itself at the moment, they only lead to destabilisation and increased crime.
Mr Ekom has not only convinced his leaders with valuable arguments, but he has also gained credibility, as he has made a thorough research of the local situation. This work has thus become a useful instrument both for the university and for better policies in his country.

report by Prof. Dr. P. Nauwelaerts, Institute of Development Policy, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium