What Our Analysts Are Reading – November, 2021

Navanti’s data collection and analysis are based on networks of on-the-ground researchers from all walks of life: journalists, academics, and humanitarian workers, to name a few. Our analysts also keep abreast of open source reports to inform their work. Below, these analysts have summarized and contextualized the most important pieces they have read and listened to over the past month.


An investigation by the OCCRP, Siena.lt, and Belsat uncovered a scheme to export EU-sanctioned Belarusian BelAZ trucks through Lithuania’s biggest seaport, Klaipeda, allowing the Lukashenka regime to evade EU sanctions. According to the investigation, a former Lithuanian prison warden reportedly controlled a Belarusian logistics firm that signed a contract for over $1 million to deliver the trucks, after the EU sanctioned BelAZ in mid 2021. This investigation highlights how the Lukashenka regime manipulates Lithuania amid high tensions between the two countries, and underscores the fact that Lithuania is still a tempting destination for smuggling due to its position between Belarus, Russia, and the European Union.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)continues to decline as Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the tripartite presidency, pushes for the secession of Republika Srpska (RS) from BiH. In a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary Gabriel Escobar, Dodik stated that he “didn’t give a s###” about the threat of future action from the US, and that he “wasn’t elected to be a coward.” Current diplomatic efforts by the US, UK, and Brussels have been met with hostility and an unwillingness to compromise. However, Dodik discusses his relationship with Russian and China in The Guardian, where he states that they have offered their unwavering support for him and RS. We should all be concerned about an escalation of Russian meddling in Bosnia, especially given the current situation in Ukraine.

Burkina Faso

The authors of this reading use the Kantchari-Makalondi borderland as a case study to analyze the impact of European-promoted migration policies in West Africa, which tend to separate migration flows from the complex local realities that drive them. The study focuses on migration control, the local economy, and violence in the Burkina Faso and Niger Borderland. They find that the forced immobility brought about with “migration management” methods have had unintended knock-on effects, including increases in asymmetric violence and economic decline.


In September, Guinean special forces orchestrated West Africa’s third military coup in less than a year. Whereas similar coups in Mali and Chad have prompted civilian protest and national concern for democratic institutions, Guinea’s has generated much more complicated public perceptions. As James Courtright learned from his interviews with locals, the forced abdication of Alpha Conde from the presidency has inspired some confidence in the future of the country and its potential to better represent the interests of all Guineans.


In the recently published FAO study of “Yemen: Shock, agricultural livelihoods, and food security,” 84 percent of households in food insecure areas depending on agricultural livelihoods surveyed October 2020-February reported having taken on debt that they had not been able to repay by the time of the survey. This is despite the fact that part of the survey was conducted during the harvest season, the period of the year with the highest cash incomes for agricultural households. This is a worrying sign that these households either already could not meet their food and non-food needs during their periods of highest income in last year’s harvest season and were forced to take on new debt as a result, or were unable to use the period of increased income to pay off existing debt. This year, as winter’s dry season approaches, these households likely face worse conditions, burdened by debt, they cannot afford to repay as prices of food and other essential goods continue to rise.