Activist Brief: Violent Kleptocracies


What is a Violent Kleptocracy?
Enough defines violent kleptocracy as a system of state capture in which ruling networks and commercial partners hijack governing institutions for the purpose of resource extraction and for the security of the regime. Ruling networks utilize varying levels of violence to maintain power and repress dissenting voices.

How They’re Destroying Parts of Africa and How They Can Be Dismantled
Part 1: The Problem
Millions of people have suffered and perished in the ongoing wars in East and Central Africa. The big prize in these deadly conflicts is the control of a hijacked state and the natural resources wealth of the country. With the help of international enablers in these unstable and authoritarian settings, state institutions are captured and state resources are siphoned into private bank accounts, while remaining resources go primarily to fund security networks to maintain power and expand extraction.
Part 2: The Solution
Enough’s recommendations focus on using financial pressure to dismantle the kleptocratic networks that have hijacked states in conflict, reform incentive structures away from war and towards peace, and help build functional and transparent state institutions. These key tools of financial pressure are:
  1. Highly targeted and aggressively enforced sanctions.
  2. Anti-money laundering tools that focus on supporting efforts by banks to freeze offenders out of the international financial system.
  3. Asset recovery mechanisms.
  4. Aggressive foreign corrupt practices act enforcement.
Part 3: The Endgame
Ultimately, local reform organizations, networks, parties, and movements will lead the transition to a peaceful East and Central Africa. International efforts can support these local actors by addressing the incentive structures that currently favor corruption and conflict in the form of violent kleptocracies that control most of the nation-states in the region. Change will take considerable time, but networks of courageous and dedicated activists, journalists, businesspeople, and politicians are growing throughout East and Central Africa. The right kind of external policies and support could make all the difference.
Click here to read the full report by John Prendergast, “Violent Kleptocracies: How they’re destroying parts of Africa and how they can be dismantled.”