Drug trafficking in West Africa has increased dramatically over the last two decades, with nearly a quarter of all of Europe’s cocaine being trans-shipped through the region at one point. An essential locale in this trafficking was Guinea-Bissau, often called a “narco state.” In reality, however, the trafficking stemmed from a small politico-military elite that worked in conjunction with independent entrepreneurs. The institutional entanglement implied by the term “narco-state” was not there.
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Addressing Guinea-Bissau's challenges requires fundamental reforms to the presidency, a top-heavy military, and international counter narcotics cooperation.
Drug trafficking is a major transnational threat in Africa that converges with other illicit activities ranging from money laundering to human trafficking and terrorism.
Conflicts of interest within Africa's fisheries sector enable unsustainable exploitation by foreign fishing firms and undercut the political will needed to build more robust surveillance and prosecutorial capacity.
Global Illicit Flows and Local Conflict Dynamics: The Case for Pre-Emptive Analysis and Experimental Policy Options
The linkages between transnational illicit economies and local conflicts are multifold. From Guinea-Bissau to Libya to Nigeria, examples abound of how transnational illicit markets interact with local conflicts. For instance, the rise of certain illicit economies can skew the agendas of actors involved in a conflict, such that peace may cease to be a goal if it means an end to a source of wealth. Understanding how the larger illicit economy intersects with local conflict and the actors involved will help find meaningful solutions to a conflict.
The distinction between legitimate and illicit business in Africa is fluid due to the significant size of informal trade on the continent. At the same time, globalization has allowed organized criminal groups to link up with international networks, including violent extremists.
Africa currently hosts over 100,000 peacekeeping personnel. Contributions by African nations are rising and are more diversified—with some big exceptions.
Nanténé Coulibaly joined the Africa Center alumni community in 2014, when she participated in the Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Program. This annual program focuses on the core elements of ethical leadership within the security sector and employs a plenary and discussion group format that allows participants to exchange their experiences and ideas.... Continue Reading
The terrorist attack on a luxury hotel in Ouagadougou is the second time in recent months, following the deadly assault on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako in November 2015, that groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), largely based in northern Mali, have conducted attacks of this type outside their base area.... Continue Reading
As part of its mission to expand understanding and build enduring partnerships, the Africa Center maintains relationships and builds networks with thousands of alumni and 33 community chapters. Alumni stay in contact with the Center through bilateral programs, research publications, communities of interest, and ongoing exchanges.
In parts of Africa, there is a reformulation of politics and crime into networks that transcend the state/non-state boundary in ways that are not standard concepts of organized crime. The blanket term of organized crime can distract from this distinct problem that arises in a particular form based on the histories of individual countries. In... Continue Reading
The increasingly asymmetric and multidimensional nature of threats facing the continent are at the heart of security concerns in Africa and make the evolving security environment on the continent radically different from what is was a decade ago. Many of these security threats stem from weak and unaccountable governance and the lack of political will... Continue Reading