Washington, DC - Today the President announced the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), a new joint endeavor between the United States and six African partners that offers a comprehensive approach to improving security sector governance and capacity to address threats.

Africa is a dynamic and diverse region that is experiencing significant gains in economic growth and development, and African states are increasingly stepping up to confront security challenges.  But transnational and domestic security threats hinder progress, and gaps in security capacity to address both internal and external challenges persist.  These threats include terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and others, which remain active on the continent; illicit activities - such as trafficking (drugs, humans, weapons, and wildlife) and piracy - which tear at the security fabric and help fund criminal, and in some cases extremist, activities; and domestic and regional conflict.

A New Presidential Initiative

Against this backdrop, the United States remains committed to working with our African partners and providing assistance to strengthen their security sectors.  The SGI is a new Presidential Initiative that offers an enhanced approach to security sector assistance beginning with six countries: Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia. 

  • Each of the six countries has demonstrated partnership with the United States, expressed a desire to strengthen its security sector, and committed to the core elements of the initiative. 
  • In the initial year, $65 million would be dedicated to the initiative.  In subsequent years, the United States will provide additional funding commensurate with maturing program needs and expansion to additional countries.
  • Together, the United States and participating African countries will work to improve security sector institution capacity to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability.  To support a longer term focus, SGI will involve multi-year funding commitments of increased U.S. support and will require sustained, high-level leadership and commitment by partner countries to pursue policies in support of the agreed upon goals. 

Key Features

Partnership and results are at the core of SGI.  Together with our SGI partner countries, the United States will assist in developing joint strategies based on assessments and the determination of priorities and objectives.  Regular evaluations of programs will guide adjustments to assistance based on achieved results.  To execute the initiative and ensure maximum effectiveness of U.S. assistance, the United States will form a dedicated SGI team to be housed at the Department of State with support from the Department of Defense, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.

SGI is a distinctive approach that:

  • Focuses on the systems, processes, and institutions that reinforce democratic security sector governance;
  • Uses rigorous analysis, shared data, and agreed upon goals, and is supported by regular measurement and evaluation;
  • Matches targeted investments with willing partners to strengthen specific military and civilian institutions; and
  • Relies on commitment and accountability for results on the part of the United States and our partners.

The key goals and objectives of SGI are to:

  • Increase partner nation capacity to meet citizen security needs, such as accessing justice, countering transnational threats, and contributing to regional and international security and stability;
  • Prevent or mitigate instability and conflict and counter terrorist activities and their enabling environments;
  • Advance U.S. interests and strategic goals, including promoting democratic governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, and long-term economic development while improving the effectiveness and sustainability of other U.S. security sector assistance investments and activities; and
  • Deepen the impact of U.S. investments in countries that show leadership and political will to make reforms and policy decisions necessary to improve security sector governance.

SGI will focus on civilian and military security institutions and the ministerial functions that provide state oversight of the security sector.  SGI programs will differ in each country, reflecting specific partner country challenges, goals, and objectives.  For example, a country emerging from conflict may focus on strengthening law enforcement sector institutions – such as the national police, gendarmerie, and national guard – to provide effective, sustainable, and consistent law enforcement, community policing, and response to critical incidents in urban areas.  Additionally, SGI could focus on the justice sector – for example, strengthening a Ministry of Justice’s and Director of Public Prosecution’s ability to lead a government-wide effort against terrorism and other transnational crimes, provide oversight and accountability, and ensure effective and accountable corrections management.  In a more developed country that is a security exporter, for example, SGI could focus on enhancing capacity across security and rule of law institutions (e.g., defense, interior, and justice ministries).  In all partner countries, SGI will build security sector capacity – in both military and civilian institutions – through a comprehensive approach with targeted assistance that entails sustained leadership commitment from both the United States and partner countries.