Guinea Bissau

  • Advancing Stability and Reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau: Lessons from Africa's First Narco-State

    By Davin O'Regan and Peter Thompson, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, June 2013 official-bringing-out-the-parcels-of-drugs-during-search Large quantities of cocaine have flowed through Guinea-Bissau for nearly a decade, accelerating a cycle of coups and crises that demonstrate the broad threats posed by narco-trafficking in Africa. The direct involvement of military and political leaders in the trade has also hollowed out state structures, creating a significant obstacle to stabilizing the situation. Addressing these challenges will require fundamental reforms to the presidency, a top-heavy military, and international counter narcotics cooperation.

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  • Civil-Military Relations and Political Order in Guinea-Bissau

    By Birgit Embaló. Journal of Modern African Studies, 2012. Since independence, Guinea-Bissau has been beset by multiple military coups d’état and authoritarian governments. Such instability is largely a product of competition and disputes between the country’s two most powerful institutions, the dominant “liberation” political party PAIGC and the military. Both have served as the gateway to political and economic influence in a weakly governed context, using patronage, violence, ethnic mobilization, and, increasingly, illicit arms and drug trafficking to strengthen their authority over one another. This has set back multiple previous democratic openings and instability has spilled into neighboring Senegal and Guinea. Strengthening other voices in Guinea Bissau, including local and traditional authorities, civil society actors, and emerging political parties may lead to a more balanced and less violent system of governance. Download the Article: [PDF]
  • Beyond Turf Wars: Managing the Post-Coup Transition in Guinea-Bissau

    By International Crisis Group. August 2012. Sharply differing responses to a 2012 military coup in Guinea-Bissau between West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) is impeding stabilization efforts. Both organizations hold points of leverage and influence in Guinea-Bissau to stymie the other, but together they could steer the country through recent years of tumultuous and volatile insecurity marked by high levels of drug trafficking. ECOWAS could use its financial clout and peace mission to push for needed security sector and electoral reforms while the CPLP could work with popular political parties to ensure a credible and participatory election. Guinea-Bissau has been unable to address drug trafficking and various political assassinations, so an international commission of inquiry should also be created to shed light on past abuses that have fed a culture of impunity. Download the article: [PDF]
  • Republic of Guinea-Bissau: Census of the Armed Forces

    By United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Guinea-Bissau, April 2008. As one of the few African countries to win a war for independence, the Armed Forces in Guinea-Bissau have been a source of national pride. However, the security sector is now overstaffed and unsuited to current security threats. The government is unable to pay troops, fueling resentment, corruption, and incentives to move into illicit activities. According to a census of the armed forces, there are currently 2.73 soldiers per 1,000 people in Guinea-Bissau compared to the West African average of 1.23 soldiers per 1,000 people. The majority of troops (71%) are stationed in the capital, and the organization is very top heavy with nearly half (42%) being officers. A detailed census of the force can be used to improve the management of security resources, identify and track active military members, and “rightsize” the security sector. Download the article: [PDF]