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 2018



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.



The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been supporting police reform processes in Africa on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office since 2009. Currently, the police programme is working with selected national and regional police institutions, an immigration authority, the African Union (AU) and regional organisations. The aim is to improve internal management processes and basic training. The programme is also enhancing specialist and technical knowledge in specific areas, such as forensics and transnational organised crime. In addition, the programme is helping to improve the regional coordination of police services.

With the programme’s support, basic and further training for Mauritania’s police force is being aligned with a training strategy developed by the police programme itself. New training plans are being drawn up and technical support and training provided to the staff at the national police academy. In future, an evaluation system will be in place to measure the extent to which police candidates are satisfied with the training they receive.

Other priorities of this programme include modern management and improved delivery of police station services, including reception areas for visitors at selected stations. Furthermore, a management concept for police stations is now being planned. In addition to supplies of IT equipment and office materials, police officers receive training on topics such as management, human rights and basic services.

Thanks to the police programme, the Mauritanian criminal investigation department and its forensics team are becoming more professional. Police officers undergo training in investigative proceedings and public security while the forensics experts learn about specific identification techniques. Furthermore, the project fosters improved cooperation between criminal investigators and the public prosecutor’s office in order to ensure that any evidence seized is used in court.


The national police academy has re-opened and a national training strategy has been developed. Modernising the police stations has raised the performance capacity of the border security guards. A new database allows fingerprints to be taken digitally in accordance with international standards.