COVID-related border closures across Africa have disrupted the normal flow of regional migration, putting migrants in greater danger. Here are some key trends to monitor in 2021.
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Composed of distinct operational entities, the militant Islamist group coalition Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen serves the role of obscuring the operations of its component parts in the Sahel, thereby inhibiting a more robust response.
A series of monthly academic webinars for alumni examining the political economy of the actors and markets involved in transnational organized crime (TOC) and analyzing how to strategically diagnose and respond to TOC in ways that strengthen citizen security for all and build resilience. The webinars will feature academic and practitioner experts, and Africa Center alumni are invited to attend, either for one or more sessions or the whole series of discussions.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies held a joint symposium with its Niger Community Chapter of the Africa Center, established in 2013, in January 2020 on Countering Transnational Organized Crime.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers are the most used mobile payment services globally, and providers already operate in at least 45 African countries. Transnational criminal syndicates have also embraced P2P technology: to facilitate money laundering, extortion, human trafficking and smuggling, wildlife, firearms, and drug trafficking, and terrorism. They benefit from African countries’ weak individual identification systems, a lack of consumer awareness, and a lack of resources and training of law enforcement in the collection and use of technical evidence. African governments could use assistance in understanding and tackling organized crime’s use of P2P technology.
Mauritania’s security reforms, including training, enhanced mobility, Special Forces, prudent procurement, and community engagement have strengthened its capability to confront violent extremist groups.
Urbanization and governance shape the political economy of heroin trafficking in Southern and East Africa. Case studies of heroin trafficking dynamics in capital cities, port towns, interior hubs, and border communities suggest that counter-trafficking efforts should strengthen cross-border intelligence sharing, combat government corruption, consider local communities, address the role of informal transport systems in the narcotics trade, and mitigate the drug trade’s role in fueling violence.
African elections in 2020 will be a test against efforts to erode presidential term limits and other democratic checks and balances, with direct consequences for stability on the continent.
In the Liptako-Gourma region, violent extremist groups frequently have direct or indirect links to the political economy of arms trafficking, drug trafficking, poaching, cattle rustling, artisanal mining, and the organized theft of fuel and motorcycles. Jihadist groups tend to be pragmatic and opportunistic in their linkages to organized crime, and sometimes use links to criminal groups to procure sustenance, equipment, and supplies; tax the flows of illicit products that others are moving; or regulate local opportunities to conduct illicit activities.
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.
Reversing the escalating violence of militant Islamist groups in the Sahel will require an enhanced security presence coupled with more sustained outreach to local communities.
A selection of Africa Center analysis of the ongoing security challenges in the Sahel, current security responses, and priorities for establishing peace and stability.