09 Mar 2022
Posted on 04 Mar 2022
In fragile states, groups of armed individuals are often key to the growth of criminal economies, which, reciprocally, play a significant role in prolonging and deepening conflict. Some of the countries with the highest levels of organized criminality in the world have been, or still are, entangled in a cycle of instability and conflict.
Conflict zones are key hubs in the global criminal economy, and nowhere is this correlation more evident than in North Africa, the Sahel and central Sahara, where the proliferation of armed actors and their involvement in many of the subregion’s illicit markets have contributed to cyclical instability in the region.
- Summer Walker, New York Representative, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
- Kingsley Madueke, Lecturer, Centre for Conflict Management & Peace Studies, University of JOS, Nigeria
- Pete Tinti, Researcher, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
- Alexandre Bish, Doctoral Researcher, University College London
- Emadeddin Badi, Senior Analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime
Emadeddin Badi will draw on ongoing monitoring and research exploring the relationship between illicit markets and instability in Libya, assessing how distinct criminal dynamics have shaped the strategies of conflict actors, as well as peacebuilding strategies.
Peter Tinti will explore the role of criminal economies in shaping conflict and instability in Mali, drawing from over a decade of research, including fieldwork in November 2021. Peter will consider how the incorporation of transnational organized crime into stabilisation mandates in Mali has translated into practical actions on the ground.
Alex Bish will consider the role that illicit economies have played in sustaining the operations of armed Chadian rebel groups and how their recent southward displacement since the end of the Libyan war has fuelled insecurity and illicit economies in the Sahel. Alex will draw on interviews with rebels, illicit market actors and security forces in Chad, Libya and Niger October 2019-September 2021.
Closing off the session, Summer Walker will outline 10 key analytical pillars for understanding the complex relationship between illicit markets and conflict at different stages of the conflict process, which draw on extensive stakeholder consultations in the Sahel.
Q&A will follow.