This illicit hub mapping initiative is a flagship product of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime’s latest regional observatory, the Observatory of Illicit Economies in West Africa. The exercise was designed with two distinct phases.
The first maps illicit flows through a particular country and identifies key hotspots, transit points and zones of criminality, particularly in conflict areas/areas where illicit flows feed into conflict dynamics, in the West Africa region.
The second phase of the project entails further analysis of each illicit hub, and its relationship with regional stability. In order to identify the illicit hubs that are most important in terms of their knock-on effect on conflict and stability across West Africa, a quantitative metric has been developed: the Illicit Economies & Instability Monitor (IEIM), which provides a score out of 30 for each illicit hub. The monitor comprises three components: violence and instability, crime-conflict links, and accelerators. The IEIM enables the identification of areas where illicit markets play the most important role as vectors of instability and conflict in the region, empowering policymakers to prioritize specific areas for targeted action.