- Tuesday | 27 May, 2014
- Syed Qasim Ali Shah, Safyan Kakakhel, Safiya Aftab
- Research Reports,Project Publications
Mr. Qasim Ali Shah, Ms. Safiya Aftab, Mr. Saud Asad Khan Bangash and Mr. Safyan Kakakhel
The value of the global illicit economy in 2009 was estimated at US$ 1.3 trillion and growing – it is now thought to represent 7 to 10 percent of the global economy. In some countries, such as Afghanistan, illicit trade is the major source of income. While the illegal economy raises the cost for conducting legal economic activities, it also weakens states, threatens development opportunities, undermines the rule of law and keeps countries trapped in a cycle of poverty and instability. Proceeds of the illegal economy find their way into the world’s formal economies every year through money-laundering and acquisitions of legal assets. Illegal economic activities also fund the activities of international organized crime groups and finance insurgent groups active in conflict zones throughout the world.
Despite the impact of these threats on human security at multiple levels, the illegal economy is unfortunately a neglected area within the mainstream development discourse. An analysis of the links between the illegal economy and organized crime and their collective impact on human security requires looking beyond the discrete and traditional security and development paradigms. Governments often see addressing the illegal economy as a low priority issue and development assistance available to counter its negative impacts is minimal. In a networked world, this oversight creates a vicious cycle of governance failures and economic disparities creating more opportunities for the illegal economy to flourish.