Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco: Photography by C4ADS


Featured Reports

September 19, 2016


North Korea’s overseas trading networks are evolving, and Pyongyang’s expansive business dealings with China, its biggest trading partner, are driving changes in the character, scope, and methods of these networks. As a result of these changes, North Korea and the entire Northeast Asian region face greater instability as regime elites in Pyongyang become increasingly willing and able to procure the strategic resources they need for regime security and weapons development. 

February 5, 2016  


Conditions for Muslims have steadily declined in Myanmar, with the Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine State facing the gravest threat. In 2012, the country was rocked by the worst sectarian violence in over 50 years, resulting in 200 killed and 140,000 displaced, mostly Rohingya. A 2015 study by the United States Holocaust Museum counted 19 early warning signs of genocide in Myanmar since the start of sectarian violence. Another study by the International State Crime Initiative concluded that the Rohingyas had already passed the first four stages of genocide, including dehumanization and segregation, and are now on the verge of mass annihilation. Anti-Muslim sentiment has grown so widespread that even Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party declined to field a single Muslim among their roster of 1,100 candidates for the November 2015 elections.

July 31, 2015


South Sudan was born amid great hope. The citizens of the world’s newest nation voted with one voice in support of independence for a country that boasted vast natural wealth. Goodwill from the international community brought significant international development assistance and the country was expected to quickly transition to self reliance, for the most part, on the basis of its own oil revenues. Instead, South Sudan has plunged into civil war, economic collapse, and creeping international isolation. The country’s elites have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and have squandered a historic chance for the development of a functional state. These predatory economic networks play a central role in the current civil war, because much of the conflict is driven by elites attempting to re-negotiate their share of the politico-economic power balance through violence.

May 31, 2015


The recognition of wildlife crime as a global transnational crime threat has taken on new urgency since President Obama’s 2013 Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Meanwhile, private transportation logistics and financial services companies have independently expressed concern due to their potential exposure to wildlife and environmental transnational organized crime (TOC) activity, and also a desire to take action. A key impediment to addressing their concerns has been a lack of information on both the types of supply chain abuse that may occur and the types of wildlife criminal networks that may be operating. Such information may help refine and strengthen compliance controls to ensure that funds and services reach their intended beneficiaries.

August 22, 2014


Global environmental crime is estimated by the United Nations to be worth as much as $213 billion annually. Over $23 billion is attributed to the illegal wildlife trade alone, of which ivory is an important component. Across Africa, as much as 5-7% of the elephant population is being slaughtered annually by a wide range of highly militarized actors, closely tied to conflict, organized crime, and political corruption. The price of ivory has skyrocketed from USD $5/kg in 1989 to a wholesale price of USD $2,100/kg in China in 2014, with retail prices much higher. To achieve this value, a trafficking organization must source, consolidate, transport, and sell ivory along an extremely long and complex supply chain that crosses borders and oceans and travels from the remotest corners of Africa thousands of miles to retail markets in Asia. 

April 1, 2014


Elephant ivory poaching is no longer solely a conservation issue. As poaching reaches levels that threaten to render African elephants close to extinction within the next ten years, it also find a wide range of destabilizing actors across Africa, with significant implications for human conflict. A single elephant yields 10kg of ivory, worth approximately $30,000; and conservative estimates suggest that 23,000 elephants were killed in 2013. With the true figure likely much higher, the ivory trade could be worth as much as a billion dollars annually, and will likely increase with the escalating retail price of ivory.

This report provides 7 detailed country case studies of how these profits empower a wide range of African conflict actors.

January 22, 2014


One year ago, in early 2013, Mali was slipping towards the status of failed state. A patchwork of Islamists and separatist movements controlled the northern parts of the country, military leaders from an April coup d’état continued to pull the strings of a fledgling transitional government, and Mali gained international attention as a nexus for the trafficking of drugs and illicit goods across its poorly governed territory

September 30, 2013


A network of Ukraine-based individuals and logistics companies - referred to herein as the "Odessa Network" due to its key leadership being located in Odessa, Ukraine - is responsible for transporting weapons out of Russia and Ukraine on behalf of government sellers. Evidence suggests that some of these companies may transport weapons to the Assad regime in Syria, among other notorious violators of human rights. 

August 25, 2013


As Mali recovers from the conflict and stability is restored, the country faces a new set of challenges compounding upon those existing before the crisis. This guide aims to improve the understanding of the complex factors that led to the multiform crisis and to facilitate the efforts by international organizations, humanitarian and development workers, and the business community to reengage a post-conflict Mali.

April 25, 2013


C4ADS contributes to World Bank study

The global fight against privacy in Somalia has centered on prosecuting pirates and mobilizing naval forces. But,  according to a new World Bank study, to get to the root cause of the problem the international community must focus on helping the nation build a functional political system. 

"Piracy is a symptom of the breakdown of Somalia's political system," says Quy-Toan Do, a senior economist in the Bank's research department and lead author of the report. "Go after the system, not just the pirates." 


December 3, 2012


C4ADS analyzed the illicit charcoal trade between Somalia and the UAE to make inferences about patterns of criminal activity that help fund the al-Shabaab insurgents. With Palantir software, we were able to map networks of maritime shell companies and international organizations who are, knowingly or unknowingly, likely enablers of conflict in Somalia.