From the West African coast on the Gulf of Guinea, across the Sahel and the Sahara, illicit trafficking, particularly in drugs, is having a critical impact on governance, state stability and development. These phenomena are too often analysed in sub-regional silos, without seeing the extent to which events in the littoral states along the Atlantic and the Mediterranean are interdependent.
As a consequence of both the growth in illicit trafficking in drugs and the erosion of state capacity to project itself into its borderlands, sophisticated protection economies have developed along the high-value trafficking routes. While this is not unique to the region, protection economies emerge in the absence of effectively functioning state institutions, and protection itself becomes a commodity. But protection can be expensive and its costs increase when applied to high-value commodities such as drugs.
The goal of the ATOM project is to provide catalytic, applied policy research, including representing the views and perspectives of local communities, and to facilitate dialogues amongst policy makers towards more effective, joined up responses to the challenges of trans-Saharan trafficking.
In the second edition of Atlantic Currents, a publication by the George Marshall Fund (GMF), builds on the previous one in seeking to develop a deeper understanding of the history and trends that shape the societies bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Many of those trends are driven by powerful new flows of goods, ideas, people, and conflict that […]
Abajo la versión en español. Often called ‘Africa’s first narco-state’, Guinea-Bissau achieved notoriety for becoming the foremost West African thru-passage at a time when an estimated 25% of Europe’s cocaine was trafficked through the region. Actors at the highest level of the state were apparently personally involved and profiting from the trade, triggering decades of political […]
The international community has reiterated its commitment to supporting the government to rebuild the fractured state of Mali. Despite formidable investments in sponsoring the electoral process, reinforcing the security sector and convening the ongoing peace process, the complex and interwoven challenges of chronic poverty, insurgencies, criminal economies, widespread corruption and impunity and extremist groups have […]
Mark Shaw and Tuesday Reitano of the Global Initiative Secretariat were invited to contribute to the World Bank’s Saharan Knowledge Series with a paper, “Instability and Opportunity: illicit trafficking and trade in the Sahara“, which analyses the interaction between illicit and licit forms of trade and their impact. In the last two decades, a number […]
In mid-October, International Alert and the Global Initiative co-hosted a seminar in Bamako, Mali, with representatives of Government, international donors, multi-lateral organisations and international and national civil society on the topic of the criminal economy in Mali and the Sahel. This two-day meeting allowed for very rich discussions around the understanding of the threat, priority […]
The Global Initiative is pleased to release this first research report “Illicit Trafficking and Instability in Mali: Past, present and future“, which is an in-depth review of how illicit trafficking has evolved in Mali, and the impact that it has had on both the governance and development prospects for the country and the wider Sahel […]