Managing Illicit Economies in East Africa

Open Society Fellow Vanda Felbab-Brown recently returned from Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia, where she researched illicit economies including logging, mining, poaching, human trafficking, the drug trade, and maritime piracy.

She is focusing on how these illicit economies intersect with violent conflict, social strife, terrorism, and with urban gangs, being particularly interested in comparative policy effectiveness and the tradeoffs made by policy-makers in considering the human dimensions of illicit economies. The Ethiopian government, for example, turned young pickpockets and hustlers into tourist guides as an alternative to organized crime, which had the unintended consequence of distorting local community structures.

In this discussion, Felbab-Brown also makes observations on similarities and differences with other regions including Afghanistan and South Asia, and Latin America.

Date: July 24, 2013
Time: 12:151:30 p.m.