We are organising a workshop bringing together scholars to explore and question the notion of ‘organised crime’ in West Africa. This two day online event will take place on 28th and 29th September 2021, and invites academics from various disciples to present draft papers; some of the presented papers are envisaged to be part of a special issue of Trends in Organised Crime, scheduled for 2022.
Over the last fifteen years, Africa’s role in the illicit trade and control of goods and people, and the related rise of ‘organised crime’ has become a central concern for international policy makers. Indeed, dominant understandings of these activities in Africa have traditionally relied upon depictions from outside, especially western-derived concepts, such as ‘organised crime’ or ‘human trafficking’, which have shaped and influenced new restrictive legislations, including on migration and the trade in medicines (Brachet 2018; Klantschnig and Dele 2021). However, recent policy changes have not necessarily had their desired effects. Research is revealing the extent to which new policies can often (re)produce, suppress, or even externalise to other countries, the issues they were designed to solve.
Through the workshop and subsequent special issue, we query whether the concept of ‘organised crime’ continues to possess any value in the African context.