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5.3.2021 : 5:28 : +0100

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  • Re-Armament in Sierra Leone: One Year After the Lome Peace Agreement, by Eric Berman, December 2000. Occasional Paper No. 1 (also available in French)

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Transfers

The trade in small arms, light weapons, and their parts, accessories, and ammunition involves every country in the world. Based on UN Comtrade data, the Trade Update 2020 estimated that international small arms trade was worth at least USD 6.5 billion in 2017. A small number of countries dominate this trade: the total value of exports by the 16 top exporters represented more than 84 per cent of the global trade in 2017.

The global trade in small arms and light weapons consists of both newly produced weapons and surplus arms that their owners no longer need. Trade in sporting and hunting shotguns and rifles, pistols, and revolvers is much greater than that in firearms made to military specifications.

The Small Arms Survey's annual Transparency Barometer assesses and compares the relative transparency of countries’ export reports.

Exporters

An analysis of customs data suggests that 21 countries  have exported USD 100 million or more in small arms at least once between 2001 and 2017. The number of major exporters and the value of their activity is likely under-counted.

Importers

An analysis of customs data suggests that 25 countries  have imported USD 100 million or more in small arms at least once between 2001 and 2017. The number of major exporters and the value of their activity is likely under-counted.

Authorized Trade

Each year, the Small Arms Survey further provides an update of annual authorized small arms and light weapons exports and imports by major exporter and importer (annual transfers of at least USD 10 million).

Illicit Trafficking

The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons occurs around the globe but is concentrated in areas afflicted by armed conflict, violence, and organized crime, where the demand for illicit weapons is often highest. Arms trafficking fuels civil wars and regional conflicts; stocks the arsenals of terrorists, drug cartels, and other armed groups; and contributes to violent crime and the proliferation of sensitive technology. 

 
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