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 challenges and the shaping of a coordinated response.

As highlighted during the meeting, efforts towards sustainable peace building, development and security cannot ignore the threat of the criminal economy and it is important that:

1)      The Malian government puts this issue as a priority in its agenda and commits to addressing the structural causes and the corruption pervading governance mechanisms;

2)      International partners put checks and balances into place and ensure that their development and governance support programmes are based on a sound understanding of the criminal economy ‘s dynamics;

3)      Malian civil society initiates a public debate on the links between criminal economy at national and local levels and helps build the capacity of communities to voice their concerns over the criminal economy and its associated security risks, in safe and secure platforms;

4)      The government and civil society as well as international partners  work together in a view to improve their context-specific understanding of the criminal economy through better research, with a view to allow for a sustainable reconstruction and the transition from a criminal economy to a peace economy,

Opportunities are now being explored to further deepen and expand the debate.  The Global Initiative has committed to continue its catalytic research in the region, and International Alert will continue to work with Malian and international partners on different fronts to ensure that reconstruction and peacebuilding efforts are as sustainable as possible.

The full report of the meeting in English and in French is available below. We also invite you to listen to a related radio programme on the theme: Is organised crime a threat for Mali, broadcast by Studio Tamani on October 16th.