The greater political freedom that has come to many African countries over the past three decades, and their opening to world markets, has brought a dark dividend — the proliferation of highly efficient crime syndicates. These syndicates have easy access to arms thanks to, among other things, the chaos in Libya after the death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and peace accords in countries like Mozambique. About 100-million small arms and other light weapons are believed to be stockpiled or in circulation in Africa, a rich resource for criminal gangs seeking weapons to help them protect their routes and create new markets. Three separate studies conducted recently show, among other things, that the trade in Colombian cocaine via West Africa and Afghan heroin via East Africa is soaring, with political elites and crime syndicates working hand in hand; and that tax avoidance by multinational companies, particularly in the extractive industries, is equivalent to 11.6% of trade lost to Sub-Sah...

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