Professional Development for Countering Transnational Organized Crime

Academic Webinar Series

October 2020 – July 2021

Program Schedule: English | Français | Português
Information Note: English | Français | Português
Recommended Reading: English | Français | Português

Transnational organized crime (TOC) is a growing threat in Africa as technology and growth in trade link the continent ever more closely to licit and illicit opportunities in the global marketplace. Livelihood challenges, political instability, and weak state legitimacy in some countries also amplify vulnerabilities to TOC in its various forms. Understanding these threats using a political economy framework is vital to formulating effective responses. From October 2020-July 2021, the Africa Center is organizing a series of monthly academic webinars for alumni examining the political economy of the actors and markets involved in 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.

Session 1  |  Thursday, October 15, 2020, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Transnational Organized Crime in Africa: Introduction to the ENACT Organized Crime Index and Related Learning

Session Objectives:

  • Study the core elements of organized crime that are measured by the ENACT Organized Crime Index for Africa: criminality (actors/markets) and resilience.
  • Consider recent trends in organized crime in Africa, analyzing continental and regional patterns of criminality, resilience, and their various components.
  • Learn how to situate your country and your country’s neighbors on the Organized Crime Index and interpret the meaning of the criminality and resilience scores that they receive on the Index.
  • Understand what the Index does and does not reveal about how criminality and resilience interact in the current realities that African security and justice actors face.

Panelists:

  1. Ms. Laura Adal (Senior Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)
    Slides
  1. Mr. Martin Ewi (Technical Coordinator of ENACT Project, Institute for Security Studies – Africa)
Session 2  |  Thursday, November 12, 2020, 1200–1315 GMT

Identifying Transnational Organized Crime: Who Are the Criminal Actors, and What Makes for a Criminal Market?

Session Objectives:

  • Review the Palermo Convention’s definition of an organized criminal group and analyze who counts as an organized criminal.
  • Conceptually distinguish between organized/unorganized crime, legitimacy/illegitimacy, and licit/illicit economies.
  • Become familiar with the ENACT Organized Crime Index’s typology of criminal actors (state-embedded, criminal networks, foreign, and mafia-style) and understand some of the common strategic challenges that arise for African states in relation to these actors (namely, dismantling collusion between criminal networks and state-embedded actors).
  • Consider the spatial reach of various criminal markets across Africa and TOC actors’ adaptability in their use of different markets to evade sanction.

Panelists:

  1. Mr. Serigne Assane Dramé (Team Lead on TOC & Migration, Timbuktu Institute)
  1. Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly (Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
Session 3  |  Thursday, December 10, 2020, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Vulnerabilities: Violence, State Legitimacy, and Livelihood Challenges

Session Objectives:

  • Understand why and how political violence, state legitimacy and governance challenges, and livelihood challenges linked to various megatrends can create regional, national, and local vulnerabilities to TOC.
  • Analyze how vulnerabilities have differential impacts on women and marginalized populations, as well as whether these vulnerabilities have changed with COVID-19.
  • Consider what kinds of factors can foster resilience to TOC in contexts characterized by political violence, low state legitimacy, and livelihood challenges.

Panelists:

  1. Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly (Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
  1. Dr. Peter Biar Ajak (Visiting Fellow, Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
Session 4  |  Thursday, January 14, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Resilience: The Role of Legal and Policy Frameworks

Session Objectives:

  • Understand why three factors identified by the ENACT Organized Crime Index – international cooperation, national laws and policies, and political leadership and governance – are important influences on African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Describe the key elements of international cooperation (international conventions like Palermo), national laws and policies (legislation domesticating such conventions, government policies or strategies), and political leadership and governance (political will, pressure to counter TOC) that affect African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Identify some of the current challenges African states face in making these resilience factors work.

Panelists:

  1. Ms. Gogé Maïmouna Gazibo
  1. Ms. Diya Beesoondoyal (Principal State Counsel, Attorney General’s Office, Mauritius)
Session 5  |  Thursday, March 11, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Resilience: The Role of Law Enforcement, Justice, and their Coordination

Session Objectives:

  • Understand why three factors identified by the ENACT Organized Crime Index – law enforcement, territorial integrity, and judicial system/detention – are important influences on African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Describe the key elements of law enforcement (capacity, intel-sharing, special units, citizen legitimacy), territorial integrity (border control), and judicial system and detention (criminal justice chain) that affect African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Identify some of the current challenges African states face in making these resilience factors work.
Session 6  |  Thursday, April 8, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Resilience: The Role of Financial Flows, Corruption, and Oversight

Session Objectives:

  • Understand why three factors identified by the ENACT Organized Crime Index – anti-money laundering, economic regulatory enforcement, and government transparency and accountability – are important influences on African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Describe the key elements of anti-money laundering (adherence to international standards), economic regulatory enforcement (rule of law and lack of TOC influence in trade/business), and government transparency and accountability (combating government corruption, oversight) that affect African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Identify some of the current challenges African states face in making these resilience factors work, including the difficulties of using anti-money laundering and anti-corruption instruments to dismantle collusive networks involving state-embedded actors with criminal networks and foreign actors.
Session 7  |  Thursday, May 20, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Resilience: The Role of Communities, Citizens, and Civil Society

Session Objectives:

  • Understand why three factors identified by the ENACT Organized Crime Index – prevention, non-state actors, and victim/witness support – are important influences on African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Describe the key elements of prevention (community outreach/citizen engagement strategies, gender sensitivity in gathering local knowledge to inform prevention), non-state actors (checks and balances by civil society), and victim and witness support (assistance programs) that affect African states’ resilience to TOC.
  • Identify some of the current challenges African states face in making these resilience factors work.
Session 8  |  June 3, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Criminality: TOC Trends in West Africa

Session Objectives:

  • Classify the key types of criminal actors in the region, as well as the types of criminal markets in which they are engaged.
  • Analyze the resources and constraints of organized criminal groups in the region, as well as their strategic incentives for leveraging various criminal markets in the regional political and economic context.
  • Consider how regional patterns of criminality interact with resilience factors to shape security for all, including women and marginalized communities.
Session 9  |  Thursday, June 10, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Criminality: TOC Trends in East Africa

Session 10  |  Thursday, June 17, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Criminality: TOC Trends in North Africa

Session 11  |  Thursday, June 24, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Criminality: TOC Trends in Central Africa

Session 12  |  Thursday, July 1, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Understanding Criminality: TOC Trends in Southern Africa

Session 13  |  Thursday, July 29, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT

Responding to TOC: Engaging the Security-Development-Government Nexus

Session Objectives:

  • Understand what the security-development-governance nexus is and why it is important for national and citizen security, including in relation to TOC.
  • Analyze the evidence suggesting that law enforcement and criminal justice responses to TOC are insufficient, and must be complemented by African states’ additional, holistic engagement across the security-development-governance nexus.
  • Consider ways to carefully design counter TOC efforts to avoid unintentionally exacerbating incentives to perpetrate, abet, or tolerate TOC, identifying any relevant differences in approach in contexts of protracted conflict.
  • Identify some inclusive and coordinated approaches to building resilience to TOC that would allow security and justice actors to work with other state and non-state partners to enhance local, national, and regional outcomes.