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The Mauritanian army has historically enjoyed a prominent role in the country’s politics. Mauritania’s military expenditure amounts to 2.8 per cent of GDP and is among the highest in the region. Although its security apparatus is relatively efficient, compliance with principles of democratic governance represents a major challenge. Public spending on security and defence is subject to frequent mismanagement and claims to defence secrecy.

In recent years, the Mauritanian government has embarked on a strategy to tackle the lack of transparency and accountability.

DCAF works alongside national oversight actors and institutions in Mauritania to improve the management of financial resources in the security sector.



Photo: DCAF
The population either trusts or does not trust. This trust is linked to how transparency and accountability are integrated into the governance of the defence and security sectors.
Oswald Padonou, SSG/R Expert, DCAF


Since its start in 2021, the programme aims to improve democratic control and financial oversight of the security and defence sector of Mauritania. We provide capacity support to a range of national financial oversight institutions, such as the Court of Audit, the Market Regulation Authority, as well as members of parliament, and a network of civil society actors.

The programme is made possible thanks to generous funding from the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. It complements DCAF’s efforts in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger within the framework of the programme ‘Governance of the Security Sector in the Sahel’, funded by Denmark and Norway.

The focus of the programme is as follows:

  • disseminate best practices on oversight of financial resources in the security sector in the Sahel. A research publication on financial resource management in the Sahel from 2022 informs capacity-strengthening exercises for staff of financial oversight institutions
  • stimulate collaboration between supreme audit institutions, parliament, and civil society through joint workshops for improved budgetary control of the security sector spending. DCAF has also mobilized a network of Mauritanian civil society organizations around relevant initiatives to improve external oversight of the security sector
  • conduct lobby and advocacy in favour of legal reform to increase transparency and accountability in the security sector
  • support the international participation of Mauritania in regional initiatives on oversight of financial resources in the security sector, such as a DCAF regional conference in March 2023 that convenes relevant expertise from across the Sahel. Read the report of the 2021 regional conference.



















Key Resources


Apolline Gagliardi, SSG/R Advisor, Programme Manager ( 

Lucas Koppen, Project Officer, ( )