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POSTPONED – Organized crime, terrorism, and political power: The case of West Africa

Across the globe, non-state actor violence, whether criminal or extremist, is increasingly attached to “enterprises” that fund them. These groups offer alternative ideas of power and forms of governance, which they achieve through a process of undermining and displacing formal state institutions. In weak, fragile and failed states, criminal entrepreneurs take advantage of the limited ability of national authorities to deliver human security and basic services, and use the vacuum created by ineffective governance to turn their own provision of “social services” and illicit employment into social and political capital.

On January 25, the Africa Security Initiative and the Latin America Initiative at Brookings and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime will host a panel discussion to analyze these trends in West Africa. Alessandra Fontana of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will highlight why the need to address criminal economies within a context of illicit financial flows is increasingly a priority for OECD states; Tuesday Reitano and Mark Shaw of the Global Initiative will detail their analysis prepared for the OECD on illicit economies and their impact in West Africa; former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Deputy Chief of Operations James Soiles will comment on law enforcement efforts in the region; Brookings Senior Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown will discuss what factors influence the size and scope of political capital that organized-crime groups and terrorists obtain from their participation in illegal economies and Latin America Initiative Director Harold Trinkunas will moderate and provide a comparative view from Latin America. Following the panelists’ remarks, the group will take questions from the audience.

This event will be webcast.

Join the conversation on Twitter using #OrganizedCrime




Tuesday Reitano

Head of the Secretariat - Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime


Mark Shaw

Director - Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime


James Soiles

Former Deputy Chief of Operations, Office of Global Enforcement - Drug Enforcement Administration


Harold Trinkunas

Former Brookings Expert

Interim Co-Director and Senior Research Scholar, Center for International Security and Cooperation - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University

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