Spotlight: global effort to tackle organised crime in Africa


The global nature of transnational organised crime has forced countries to work together on long-term solutions. Partnerships between the developed and developing world, and among regional organisations and civil society are vital.

This was the common message at a high-level side event hosted by the ENACT project on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2017.

‘From our experience, I know that we cannot do it alone as the African Union,’ said Amira El-Fadil, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs. ‘We need to engage with the regional economic communities in Africa and with our partners on the continental and global levels.’ 

Former Nigerian president and Chair of the West African Commission on Drugs, Olusegun Obasanjo, agreed. ‘There’s a greater need for cooperation, not working in silos. There must be an exchange of information and intelligence, and mutual assistance.’

'We cannot do it alone as the African Union' – Amira El-Fadil, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs

ENACT is a new global partnership between the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), INTERPOL and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime. With funding from the European Union, the project gives visibility to Africa’s organised crime priorities and challenges by convening decision-makers at the highest levels.

‘I’m very proud of the work that the ISS is doing in the context of ENACT. ISS has been at the cutting edge of research and coming up with fresh ideas on challenges facing us in Africa. One of the real challenges today is transnational organised crime,’ said Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

ENACT brought together nearly 100 representatives of African and European governments and regional bodies like the International Conference on the Great Lakes, the G5 Sahel and the International Parliamentary Secretary of the Mediterranean. The focus was on the latest organised crime developments in West Africa, where human smugglers have broken down borders between that region, the Sahel and North Africa. 

‘Organised crime in West Africa and the Sahel is a real threat to peace and security and the development of this region. The nexus is there between organised transnational crime and terrorist activities, particularly in the Sahel,’ said Chambas. The event highlighted the need for African skills and capacity to deal with these threats.

The ENACT project uses evidence-based analysis to improve the capacity of African governments and civil society to respond to organised crime. It draws on the ISS’ established record as an African partner on countering terrorism, enabling criminal justice and preparing for effective peace operations. 

For more information contact:

Jacqueline Cochrane, ENACT: +27 12 346 9500,

Picture: UN Photo/Staton Winter

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