Security sector reform (SSR) is increasingly put forward as a solution for a broad spectrum of African states facing security challenges. Yet, for a variety of reasons, there are relatively few examples of successful SSR implementation. The case of Burundi’s Security Sector Development (SSD) program, while still a work in progress, is noteworthy for having advanced both security sector effectiveness and democratic accountability since its inception in 2009. The success of SSR programs depends heavily on the ability to address politically sensitive issues. For the most part, SSR programs have fared poorly in this regard. Burundi’s SSD program, however, proactively addresses the politics of reform at both the policy and operational levels on a daily basis. Insights from Burundi’s SSD program can inform other African SSR initiatives.
Africa Security Brief No. 29