chapter
Drug trafficking in the Sahara Desert
Follow the money and find land grabbing
ByLuca Raineri
Pages 15

According to the World Bank, two major parallel phenomena have radically modified the patterns of land governance in Africa in the last decades. On the one hand, no region in the world exhibits the pace of urbanisation and urban growth of Africa. On the other hand, large-scale acquisitions of farmland - defined as the acquisition of property rights or long-term leases of portions of arable land larger than 1,000 hectares- have been skyrocketing in the last decade. Conventional geopolitical theories and mainstream security thinking have tended to deterministically attribute to the Sahara the 'objective' geopolitical fate of a 'buffer zone' of weak interaction. Recent scholarly work has come to recognise that 'the Sahara was always a borderland, in the sense of a zone constituted by its multiple interactions with neighbouring worlds, without which it would be unable to survive'. The real game changer of illegal trades across the Saharan region has been represented by the boom of cocaine smuggling.