As President Obama convened a high-level meeting of regional leaders today in Addis Ababa to discuss the war and crisis in neighboring South Sudan, The Sentry released its first report, The Nexus of Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan, which maps grand corruption’s relationship to the escalating emergency.
South Sudan’s elites have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and are squandering their historic chance for the development of a peaceful, functional state. These predatory economic networks play a central role in the current civil war as much of the conflict is driven by elites attempting to re-negotiate their share of the politico-economic power balance through violence. The report maps out the corruption and the conflict-financing system in South Sudan and describes the likely channeling of illicit money flows. It identifies four major vectors along which the country’s wealth and revenues are diverted towards the personal and institutional interests of elites:
- The Extractives Sector: the extractives sector, which is the largest source of national revenue, is mismanaged and highly opaque
- The Military State: the military controls the economy; directly by taking the largest share of the budget and indirectly through closely held companies and contracts
- State Spending: the procurement system is prone to corruption, waste, and a lack of tangible results, and suppliers tied to elite interests are regularly awarded lucrative contracts
- Money Laundering Hub: the emerging financial sector in South Sudan has been exploited by elites who use it as a laundering and revenue-generating vehicle
The report concludes that identifying and pressuring the perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers of South Sudan’s kleptocratic system and choking their illicit financial flows is a key source of leverage in impacting the cost-benefit analysis of armed conflict in South Sudan.
Read the full report: The Nexus of Corruption and Conflict in South Sudan
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The Sentry seeks to dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. Our investigations follow the money from conflict zones and into global economic centers, using open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network analysis technology. The Sentry provides information and analysis that engages civil society and media, supports regulatory action and prosecutions, and provides policymakers with the information they require to take effective action. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of the Enough Project, with its supporting partners C4ADS and Not On Our Watch (NOOW). Learn more at TheSentry.org.