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Illicit Trafficking in North Africa & Sahel


Some Nomadic tribes in North Africa and the SaheI are engage in illicit trafficking that often leads to the financing of terrorist groups.

Africa - Socio Economic - Format: PDF - Size: 1.01 MB - Date: Apr, 2018 - Pages: 11 - Copyright: NATO Strategic Direction South HUB - Tags: Sahel, MENA, Irregular migration

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.

Key insights

Main factors pertaining to Illicit Trafficking & Smuggling in North Africa and the Sahel:

  • 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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