Old Paths, New Riders: Transnational Organized Crime in the Maghreb-Sahel Belt - Regional Programme Political Dialogue and regional Integration in the Southern Mediterranean
It is against this background that the KAS Regional Program South Mediterranean in cooperation with the KAS Regional Program Sahel organized a workshop in Tunis from 2 to 3 December 2018 that gathered renowned experts on transnational trafficking and organized crime as well as practitioners from several countries of the Maghreb and Sahel region and international institutions in an effort to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the nexus of organized crime, governance and insecurity and to further a cross-regional exchange of best practices between national institutions countering crime and terrorism. The variety of backgrounds among the participants enabled discussions beyond the reductive security angle that is systematically used when approaching organized crime the Sahel-Maghreb region.
The workshop outlined the infrastructure of trafficking in North Africa and the Sahel zone and identified the groups who control places where illicit goods are produced and the key gateways and routes through which they pass. Contributions explicated the consequential potency of involved actors and the region’s position in the international geopolitics of organized crime. Drawing from the practical experience of the countries in the region, the following three recommendations for national and regional initiatives to combat these phenomena could be drafted:
Noting a major problem of overlapping initiatives between different stakeholders working to stabilize the region, participants advocated for a better cooperation between all involved governments and institutions that would imply a deeper information sharing.
Furthermore, in order to disrupt the activities of criminal and terrorist groups, priority should be given to small-size projects that meet local imperatives and do not require much time or resources to be implemented.
Finally, the third axis should prioritize building the capacities of internal security forces before any efforts to create security networks that would dependent to a high extend on international coordination and not be sustainable in the long term.