Africa and Ballistic Missiles

By Scott Morgan

On June 1st, India signed on to the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. By doing this they became the 138th Nation to accept this protocol which seeks to regulate activities regarding ballistic missiles.

This is a topic that seems to be dominated by test launches from both Iran and North Korea at random moments. These are not the only nations that have this capability but in recent weeks there have been several nations that have been testing their ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Defense Systems.

So with these moves in order: what about Africa? In the past, the only countries that had any capacity to have Ballistic Missiles were the Apartheid-era Government in South Africa and Libya, under the rule of Col. Qadaffi. In 1993, the South Africans dismantled their program followed a decade later by the Libyans. So what of the rest of the continent?

At this time the only Country suspected of having Operational Missiles is Egypt. This is an issue for a couple of reasons. First, the country is not a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and has signed but not ratified the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. The country is not expected to renounce its Missile Program, in the near future, despite there being no clear answer about their readiness.

While there is no evidence of other African states having these weapons, their proliferation is considered a threat to international peace and affects the security of all states. Thirty-six states in Africa are currently part of the Protocol. Fourteen others - which are not part of the protocol - have expressed support for it at the UN General Assembly. The Three that stand out are Egypt, Algeria and South Sudan.

Those states that rely heavily on Maritime Commerce could find themselves willingly or unwillingly used as conduits to ship components for these weapons. So it could be conceivable that a shipment from a country such as Iran or North Korea can use an African port, or even an Airport, to be sent to a final destination. This will make several countries like the United States and others very nervous. A recent UN Panel of Experts Report on North Korea did raise this concern as that country seeks new sources of revenue to circumvent the sanctions against that pariah state.

It is felt that if Africa seeks to gain status as a Global Power it has to assert whatever position it will take regarding the use of Ballistic Missiles. Africa has taken strong positions when it comes to disarmament. One area they have taken a stand in has been in Nuclear Weapons. Ballistic Missiles are part of the equation as they tend to be one of the delivery systems currently being used.

Of course this means that if Cairo, Algiers or Juba finds themselves in a situation where they have to be used the question of whether or not they become a pariah state could morph into: why aren’t we doing this?

(Image: Ballistic Missile - Google Images)

[The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dissecting Society]


  1. What if Africa already has BMs, has anyone thought of it?

  2. The thought of Africa having BMs is terrible. What if they fall in the wrong hands?

  3. Hi Morgan,

    If Africans are taking a strong position regarding the use of Ballistic Missiles, then we must ask ourselves why that is. Do BMs already exist in Africa and African leaders know it? If they exist, why doesn't the world know about it through official reports? Who is placing these weapons there and to which purpose?

    So you fear a ballistic arms race in Africa, Morgan?



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