Advancing Stability and Reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau: Lessons from Africa's First Narco-State
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC AFRICA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES
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A string of crises stretching back more than a decade has rendered Guinea-Bissau one of the most fragile states in Africa. This recurring cycle of political violence, instability, and incapacitated governance, moreover, has accelerated in recent years, most notably following a military coup in April 2012. Exploiting this volatility, trafficking networks have coopted key political and military leaders and transformed Guinea-Bissau into a hub for illicit commerce, particularly the multibillion dollar international trade in cocaine. This has directly contributed to instability in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and elsewhere in Africa. European and African organized criminal groups have likewise established ties to the Guinea-Bissau trade. Drawn by the lucrative revenues, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militant groups in West Africa have also been linked to Guinea-Bissau trafficking. Now commonly referred to as Africa s first narco-state, Guinea-Bissau has become a regional crossroads of instability. Responses to Guinea-Bissau s bouts of crises, however, have tended to be short lived and neglect the country s deep institutional weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Clashes within the military, coups d tat, and strings of politically motivated killings have been met with condemnation from regional and international partners followed by calls for investigations or a transitional election but with few genuine reforms. Oftentimes many of the perpetrators of Guinea-Bissau s crises retain or even expand their influence and stature. Meanwhile, economic growth has been episodic, human development indicators have been stagnant, and a humanitarian emergency imperiling 300,000 people looms.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations