This presentation will discuss the issue of "transnational crime" in West Africa as a game of hubs, nodes and organisation without organisations by addressing how, A) different hubs serve different needs in the transit of illicit items through West Africa, B) how "Big Men, are becoming nodal points in complex networks of informal governance, and C) that this takes place in a deinstitutionalised environment that consists of organisation without organisations. This is illustrated by empirical examples of different West Africa hubs and Big Men, and of a "journey" through the trans-Saharan escape that takes us via Gao and Kidal in Northern Mali towards Tamanrasset in Algeria and the Mediterranean Sea.

This presentation draws upon Morten's chapter "Castles in the sand: informal networks and power brokers in the northern Mali periphery" in Mats Utas (ed.) African Conflicts and Informal Power: Big Men and Networks (Zed Press, 2012) and Morten's forthcoming book Among Miners, Merchants and Warriors in African Borderlands (forthcoming, Routledge, 2012/2013)

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Transnational crime - west Africa april 2012 Morten Boas