Based on interviews with over 100 smugglers and 3,000 migrants, patterns of migrant smuggling in Mali and Niger emerge. In Niger, prior to the 2015 anti-smuggling law, smuggling networks were easy to join and fluidly linked, not always adhering to a fixed, hierarchical mode of criminal operations. Since then however, more professionalized criminal networks have consolidated market control. Most migrants reported initiating their travel without the encouragement of smugglers, but subsequently used smuggler facilitation services.
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Migration management policies must be comprehensive and take into account the effects they will have, not just on the country of origin but also the countries of transit and destination. Trying to stop migration from and along impoverished and weakly governed countries risks negatively impacting the stability of the countries they target. Aid to authoritarian governments to help stem irregular migration, for example, has ended up supporting their repressive rule. Moreover, militias who have been simultaneously involved in smuggling and anti-smuggling have been empowered, presenting thereby further weakening the states along those routes.
Driven by a confluence of poverty, corruption, and poor governance, African economic migration has created a lucrative market for human smuggling that is funding regional criminal networks.
The phenomenon of migrants traversing the hostile terrain of northern Africa to Europe is not new—not the routes or the dangers. A decade ago, experts estimated that about 2,000 migrants drowned each year attempting to cross the Mediterranean and untold numbers perished in the desert. But after the collapse of the Gaddafi regime in 2011,... Continue Reading
Recent weeks have revealed a long-building crisis of African migration. In South Africa, xenophobic attacks against mainly African immigrants erupted across several cities prompting the South African government to deploy the military as a deterrent. Following the terrorist attack in the northeastern town of Garissa, the Kenyan government has told the United Nations to close... Continue Reading
Libya's civil war has become an increasingly competitive geostrategic struggle. A UN-brokered settlement supported by non-aligned states is the most viable means for a stable de-escalation, enabling Libya to regain its sovereignty.
The spread of the coronavirus in Africa is intersecting with the continent’s population displacement crisis. Protecting displaced persons and migrants will be key to reducing the overall rates of transmission.
This week-long seminar on Countering Transnational Organized Crime is designed to facilitate participants’ engagement in peer learning about tools, techniques, and approaches for effectively countering transnational organized crime in their countries, in the region, and across the continent.
The dynamism of clandestine African migration flows continues to present criminal and violent extremist groups opportunities for exploitation.
The confluence between farmer-herder violence, ethnicity, and extremist groups requires a multitiered response emphasizing a people-centric approach.
The Islamic State in the Greater Sahara has pursued breadth rather than depth of engagement in its rapid rise along the Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso borders.
Program materials for the Africa Center's 2019 program, “National Security Strategy Development Workshop: Central and Southern Africa.” Click here for syllabus, readings, and presentation slides.