CSO Observatory discuss ways to curb the illicit economy in Guinea-Bissau

May 16, 2022

Photo: UNDP, 2022

Information on the ground shows that illicit activities are taking on increasingly worrying proportions. This phenomenon is not only linked to the conflict but also to several parameters including culture, customs, power relations (the circulation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), etc.), and other factors.
It is in the context of the fight against illicit markets and cross-border crime/smuggling that civil society organisations from Senegal, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau cooperate with the administrative and local authorities and the communities, supporting women and young people promoting community and transnational dialogue and integrating socio-economic activities to strengthen social cohesion.

During the implementation of these activities, UNDP had the opportunity to identify and work with civil society organisations in Guinea-Bissau such as ALANSAR and BADYA as well as COJERREK in Guinea and co-organizing the activities with AFEX - Afrique Enjeux, through initiatives including the creation of frameworks for dialogue, exchange and sharing meetings between administrative and local authorities, security and defence forces, and civil society, in order to find sustainable solutions against cross-border banditry. 

The organisation and implementation, with the support of UNDP, of a study on the impact of the illicit economy on the cross-border communities with Senegal and Guinea-Conakry served as a catalyst for the holding, in October 2021, a workshop in Bissau that brought together administrative and local authorities, defence and security forces and members of civil society to find effective and efficient solutions for better integration of the communities on both sides of the border between Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. The workshop also enabled credible interlocutors to be found for better coordination of actions between the two communities and this follow-up event will also include stakeholders from the Republic of Guinea.  

The main objective of this follow-up workshop in Kolda is to contribute to the creation of a collaborative dynamic between the population, the authorities and civil society in order to fight against banditry at the border of the three neighbouring countries with the aim of i) Restitution of the study commissioned by UNDP African Borderland Centre between the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Rep. of Senegal and the Rep. of Guinea; ii) Share the recommendations of the Bissau workshop with participants from Guinea Conakry; iii) Promoting collaboration between authorities and civil society; iv) Setting up the committee of implementation; v)  Elaboration of a priority action plan by the nominated committee. 

The objectives were all achieved and Senegal (the hosting country) was nominated to assume the presidency of first year of the committee. 

The action plan includes initiatives in 6 thematic areas:

- Peace and security;

- Culture for good neighbourhood;

- Free circulation of people and goods;

- Fight against cattle thieve;

- Sustainable management of natural resources

- Protection and defence of children rights.