Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2014

Advancing Stability and Reconciliation in Guinea-Bissau: Lessons from Africa's First Narco-State

Davin O'Regan, Peter Thompson

June 2013

Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Commonly referred to as Africa’s first narco-state, Guinea-Bissau’s accelerating cycle of coups and crises exhibits the broad threats posed by narco-trafficking on the continent. Large quantities of cocaine have flowed through Guinea-Bissau for nearly a decade, increasingly with the direct involvement of military and political leaders. This has resulted in hollowed out state structures and widespread instability that is spilling across its borders. Addressing these challenges will require fundamental reforms to the presidency, depoliticize a top-heavy military, and strengthen international counter-narcotics cooperation.