Thanks to the generous support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the second in a series of field missions in 2019 and 2020 took place in October-November, 2019 to East Africa. The two-week mission to South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania enabled the ICoCA team to meet with current and prospective private security company Members to assess their implementation of Code requirements, raise awareness about ICoCA with clients of security companies and civil society organisations and to meet with regulatory authorities. The mission greatly benefited from the in-country support of two civil society organisations, ICoCA Member Usalama Reforms Forum in Kenya and WATED in Tanzania.
Each of the three countries visited has a unique operating environment. South Sudan’s private security sector is small in comparison to the number of military and police personnel. With only around 20 local private security companies and a handful of international companies, the private security industry in South Sudan is characterised by its national nature with clients from the extractive industry, the UN, NGOs, diplomatic missions and the South Sudanese police.
In contrast, the private security market in Kenya has experienced substantial growth in the last two decades and is now estimated to be about four times larger than the country’s police, military and prison services combined. Over 2,500 private security companies, both local and international, are operating in Kenya, employing over half a million guards, making it the country’s largest employer. The sector, however, is known for its poor working conditions, as many companies pay their employees below the minimum wage. The main clients include extractive sector companies, diplomatic missions, residential properties and NGOs. While Kenya does have two private security Associations, the majority of private security companies are not members of either of these Associations.
The private security industry in Tanzania has also experienced tremendous growth over the past two decades, with around 1,000 private security companies now operating in-country employing around 300,000 persons. Kenya and Tanzania are also both in the midst of security sector reform, though Kenya is more advanced in this process with the adoption of the Private Security Regulatory Act in 2016. Firearms are currently not permitted to be carried by private security personnel in Kenya and for most companies neither in Sudan, while in Tanzania, firearms for private security personnel are allowed.
Members of the ICoCA Secretariat met with six security companies during the mission, including ICoCA Members and prospective Member companies. Meeting with leadership teams took place to review policies and protocols. Recruitment and training practices and procedures were reviewed, and particular focus was placed on policies and procedures around sexual exploitation and abuse and gender-based violence. Members of the ICoCA team also met with a local security company in Northern Kenya, to learn more about a client-sponsored innovative mentoring model between an ICoCA Member company and a local security company. This model presents promise in bringing local companies up to international standards, and was showcased by ICoCA to clients of private security companies also working in the extractives sector during a recent webinar.
One-on-one meetings took place with clients of Member companies in all three countries. These included corporations, diplomatic missions, the UN and other humanitarian organisations. Along with these bilateral meetings, ICoCA also attended a meeting of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) in Juba and the East African Humanitarian Conference in Nairobi, raising the profile of ICoCA with many humanitarian organisations in attendance who contract private security companies.
Two workshops were organised to raise the profile of the Association and its work and to deepen their understanding of the issues at play in the provision of private security. In Nairobi, 18 civil society organisations were convened from across Africa, including organisations based in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Somalia. The all-day meeting in Nairobi included presentation of a baseline study on the private security sector in Kenya by Usalama Reforms and concluded with interaction between the CSOs and three private security Member companies. In Dar es Salaam, 10 national civil society organisations convened for a meeting which again raised awareness about ICoCA and the Code and included presentation of a baseline study on the private security sector in Tanzania by WATED.
The ICoCA team met with the Police Commissioner of Operations and Training of Private Security (IGP), which operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs in Tanzania. IGP representatives provided an overview of Tanzania’s regulatory environment with regard to private security services and briefed the ICoCA team about ongoing discussions on a new law being drafted to regulate and oversee the private security sector. The Private Security Training Academy (PSTA) is working closely with the Kenyan authorities to pilot a new training curriculum. ICoCA visited PSTA’s facilities and was briefed on the corriculum under development.
More photos from the Mission can be viewed here.