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New Report by The Sentry Details Impact of Sanctions in Sub-Saharan Africa

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New Report by The Sentry Details Impact of Sanctions in Sub-Saharan Africa

Posted by Enough Team on October 24, 2019

In-Depth Study Documents Successes and Challenges of Targeted Network Sanctions and Presents Recommendations to Increase Effectiveness

October 24, 2019 (New York) – Targeted network sanctions programs can be an effective tool in addressing rogue regimes and illicit actors in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report today by The Sentry. The culmination of an in-depth study of the impact of sanctions on the continent, the report includes recommendations for further improvements in design, implementation and enforcement.

The Sentry’s report, “Beyond Carrots, Better Sticks: Measuring and Improving the Effectiveness of Sanctions in Africa,” will be presented today in New York at an event hosted by Open Society Foundations. The study focused on current and recent sanctions programs by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations in seven countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Liberia, and the Central African Republic.

Hilary Mossberg, report author and AML/CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Terrorist Financing) Advisor at The Sentry, said: “Sanctions have become a de facto response by the international community to crises in Africa. The Sentry’s findings show that there has been some success in achieving goals across the continent. However, some of these sanctions programs suffer from poor coordination, implementation, and enforcement. With improved strategies and well-articulated goals, sanctions programs imposed in Africa could be much more effective.”


John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “When used strategically in an approach that goes after networks, sanctions have created the leverage needed to support diplomacy and shut out violent kleptocrats from the international financial system.  This has started to pay dividends in countries like Congo and South Sudan, but more is needed to keep up the pressure and freeze the assets of actors in these countries that are motivated primarily by one thing – money.”


Joshua White, Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry, said: “When combined with clearly-defined policy goals and a well-developed diplomatic strategy, sanctions can be an effective tool for incentivizing a change in the behavior of rogue regimes and illicit actors in sub-Saharan Africa.  The use of sanctions should not be seen as a silver bullet to solving political crises or conflict in the region.  Rather, sanctions should be carefully considered as one of many policy and legal measures that can be taken by the international community to advance peace, security, and stability on the continent.”

The report offers a range of recommendations to improve sanctions effectiveness, including multilateral coordination and enforcement, better public and private sector messaging, clear exit strategies, and a focus on the use of network sanctions, or sanctions levied against entire networks that enable authoritarian regimes to oppress civil society, not just the individuals committing the abuses. The report highlights how network sanctions have been a strategy used successfully by the United States in the cases of Iran, Russia, and North Korea in order to drive them to the negotiating table.

Read the full report and recommendations

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, [email protected]



The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals.

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