Inadequate governance, institutional fragility and widespread insecurity are both consequences and causes of the expansion of criminal activities. The impact of their proliferation is key to understanding the current – and endemic – instability affecting Mali. Yet, to date, there is little indication that policy strategies put forward by the Malian government, as well as by its international partners, are learning from the past to engage with the issue of organised crime as a threat to peace and security. This policy brief aims to help address this gap. Understanding how crime impacts on the achievement of development goals, on conflict risks, and on mounting fragility and safety threats is indeed crucial for building long-lasting and sustainable peace in Mali.