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
- 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.
- Ms. Laura Adal (Senior Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)
- 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?
- 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.
- Mr. Serigne Assane Dramé (Team Lead on TOC & Migration, Timbuktu Institute)
- TBD (ENACT Project)
Session 3 | Thursday, December 10, 2020, 1200–1315 GMT
Understanding Vulnerabilities: Violence, State Legitimacy, and Livelihood Challenges
- 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.
- Ms. Laurence-Aïda Ammour (Freelance International Security Analyst)
Slides: English | French | Portuguese
- Dr. Peter Biar Ajak (Adjunct Faculty, Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
Slides: English | French | Portuguese
Session 4 | Thursday, January 14, 2021, 1200–1315 GMT
Understanding Resilience: The Role of Legal and Policy Frameworks
- 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.