Police programme Africa – Mauritania

Project description

Title: Police programme Africa – supporting police reform processes in Mauritania
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office (AA)
Country: Mauritania
Lead executing agency: Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale (DGSN)
Overall term: 2013 to 2015   

Mauretania. Police station. © GIZ


Since around 2005, the domestic policy situation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania has been one of internal conflicts and military coups. The situation has deteriorated significantly as a result of the growing presence of radical Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Mauritania has also gone from being a transit country to a country of residence for (primarily West African) migrants and refugees as a result of Europe tightening its external borders. With few options for checkpoints in the desert and border regions, drug smuggling and human trafficking routes run through the country.

The Mauritanian police force finds it difficult to tackle these challenges and assume its responsibility for ensuring the security of the population. Since the re-election of President Aziz in 2014, very popular reforms have been implemented that seek to develop a modern, service-oriented police force. The Mauritanian police force also plays a key role in the context of the G5 Sahel platform, which involves Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad and aims to strengthen sub-regional cooperation in the security sector.


Training for the Mauritanian police force is improved, and the criminal investigations department in particular works more effectively. Police services are delivered professionally, bringing greater benefits to the Mauritanian population.


Since 2009, GIZ has been implementing a programme on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office to support police reform processes in Africa. In its current phase, the Police Programme Africa is working with selected national and regional police institutions, an immigration authority, the AU and regional organisations in order to improve internal management processes and basic training. The programme is also enhancing specialist and technical knowledge in specific areas such as forensics in order to tackle transnational organised crime and strengthen border security. In addition, it is helping to increase the regional coordination of police services.

The Police Programme is helping to align the training provided to the Mauritanian police force with a training strategy formulated during the previous phase. New training curricula are being drawn up and the staff of the national police academy are receiving technical support and training. An evaluation system is being introduced to measure how satisfied police recruits are with their training.

The programme also focuses on improving the management and provision of services in police stations. Official reception areas are being set up in selected police stations to make the police force more accessible to the public, and a modern management strategy is being drafted. Alongside equipping police stations with IT and office materials, the programme is also training police officers in the areas of management, human rights and the provision of basic services.

The Police Programme promotes the professionalisation of the Mauritanian criminal investigations department and forensics service. Detectives are being trained in investigation procedures and public security, and forensics staff are learning about forensic identification methods. The programme also promotes improved cooperation between the criminal investigations department and public prosecutors in order to ensure that evidence can be used in court.


The national police academy was recommissioned in 2015 following building work financed by the project, and a national training strategy has been drafted. The capacity of the border police has also been strengthened through training and the construction of border checkpoints. A database of digital fingerprints has been developed, allowing prints to be recorded in line with international standards.

Mauretania. Training for police officers. © GIZ