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ILLICIT TRAFFICKING IN NORTH AFRICA AND SAHEL

Executive Summary

The Illicit trafficking’s development that today characterizes North Africa and Sahel is a relevant element in financing terrorist groups in these areas. North Africa and Sahel are populated by nomadic tribes historically characterized by trading activities, including smuggling, as essential part of their economy, culture and means of survival.

In order to address this illicit trafficking, in which economic, social and cultural are intertwined, a comprehensive approach is needed with an integrated strategy that manages to give, in the long term, development alternatives to the region.

Highlights

Main factors shaping North Africa and Sahel are:

- Historical: classic trade routes, historical conflicts, decolonization process creating new states.

- Geographical: wide coasts, deserts and large porous borders.

- Political: institutional weakness, corruption, poor governance.

- Demographic and economic: high birth rates, unemployed youth population, chaotic urbanization process, poverty, underdevelopment wealth inequity, uncontrolled markets, fragile commercial regulation and corruption.

- Social: poor human development (healthy and education), divided and polarized society (ethnic, clans and tribes).

- Security: poor law enforcement, widely extended traditional smuggling activities, ineffective border control, involvement of terrorist networks in the illicit trafficking’s management.

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