Other Reads on Combating Organized Crime

Trading in Chaos: The Impact at Home and Abroad of Illegal Logging in the DRC

By Greenpeace Africa, May 2015

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to a major part of Congo Basin rainforest region. The DRC’s government logging legal and regulatory framework are opaque, ineffective and corrupt. This creates a logging industry that is so convoluted it is unclear which activities are legal or illegal. Timber-importing countries should launch investigations into logging practices to confirm legality of ongoing operations, while the DRC should implement greater oversight over the companies operating in the country.

Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Elephant Ivory

By Varun Vira, Thomas Ewing, and Jackson Miller, C4ADS & Born Free USA, August 2014

The illicit ivory trade in Africa is an extremely profitable criminal industry. It also degrades ecosystems, undermines the rule of law, and catalyzes corruption in some of Africa’s most fragile states. To tackle this threat, better data and analysis is needed on the trafficking networks and supply chains. Actionable intelligence on criminal organizations and networks will assist African policymakers to disrupt supply chains and combat the illicit ivory trade.

Unholy Alliances: Organized Crime in Southern Africa

By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation & the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, June 2014

Criminal organizations in Africa have become ever more intertwined with governmental and political institutions. This proliferation has been possible because of globalization and technological advancements, not only embedding organized crime further into domestic state structures and communities, but also assisting criminal groups to gain global reach. Systematic sub-region analyses are needed to better understand this evolving phenomenon, allowing African leaders to create a counter-organized crime framework.

Smuggling Futures: The Dangerous Path of the Migrant from Africa to Europe

By the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, May 2014

Africa is witnessing an exponential rise in the number of people illegally migrating to Europe. This trend has become a highly lucrative smuggling and trafficking industry for criminal groups. Thus far, countermeasures taken by European states have only resulted in shifting migration routes. To limit the flow of illegal migrants a comprehensive regional policy involving Europe and Africa is needed to address the root causes of mass migration.

Comprehensive Assessment of Drug Trafficking and Organised Crime in West and Central Africa

By Mark Shaw, Tuesday Reitano, & Marcena Hunter, The African Union, January 2014

Although organized crime is widely recognized as a serious security threat in Africa, data, intelligence, and scholarship on crime in the region remains insufficient. There are few primary sources and the majority of analytical work on crime has been conducted by Western scholars based on perceived threats to the United States or Europe. To effectively confront organized crime, African states must build internal capacity by increasing African-based analysis on how crime affects local populations as a means to inform policy.

Organized Crime and Conflict in the Sahel-Sahara Region

By Wolfram Lacher, Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, September 2012

Fragility in the Sahel-Sahara region is driven in part by worsening organized crime. Collusion between smugglers of cigarettes, drugs, and weapons and state officials has eroded state authority and created lucrative funding channels for Islamist terrorists, ethnically-aligned militias, and criminal groups in the Sahel-Sahara region. To reverse this worsening instability, governments and international partners should aim to break up alliances between militias and other local criminal networks that lack strong ideological or principled bonds. Meanwhile, improved opportunities for genuine political participation for marginalized groups can further diminish support for organized crime.

Termites at Work: Transnational Organized Crime and State Erosion in Kenya

By Peter Gastrow, International Peace Institute, September 2011

For many African states, powerful transnational criminal networks constitute a direct threat to the state itself, not only through open confrontation but also by penetrating state institutions through corruption and subverting them from within. With a sharp rise in narcotics and illicit trafficking, countries risk becoming criminalized or captured states. Advanced investigative law enforcement units are needed to stem transnational crime and oversight of government agencies and regulations should be made more rigorous.

Irregular Warfare: Brazil’s Fight Against Criminal Urban Guerrillas

By Gen. (ret.) Alvaro de Souza Pinheiro, Joint Special Operations University, 2009

Brazilian urban criminal groups are large and highly organized with sophisticated command-and-control.  In several neglected urban slums they now overshadow the state’s presence and assume de facto authority over both legal and illegal activities.  Brazil’s experiences offer useful lessons as urbanization, crime, and illicit trafficking increasingly shape Africa’s security threats.

Organized Crime in South Africa

By STRATFOR, 2008

An in-depth analysis of the history, structure, and geography of organized crime in South Africa. While cognizant of the tremendous strides the South African government has made from the apartheid days when organized crime formed a key role in many industries, the article emphasizes the continued attraction of South Africa as an attractive destination for organized crime.

West Africa under Attack: Drugs, Organized Crime and Terrorism as the New Threats to Global Security

By Amado Philip de Andrés, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2008

The author provides an overview on the current situation in West Africa with regard to drug trafficking, organized crime (human trafficking, diamond trade and its link with terrorism financing) and terrorism. Discusses the symptoms and effects of drugs, organized crime, and terrorism in West Africa with emphasis porous borders. The article uses statistics to illustrate threats to security in West Africa and beyond.

‘Shadow Networks’ and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes Region of Africa

By Laurence Juma, African Security Review, 2007

This paper explores the limitations of international legal regimes in combatting illicit trade networks and suggests some improvements aimed at increasing their effectiveness at reducing conflict in the region. Focuses on the case of the ‘conflict network’ phenomenon in the Congo War.

Are There Emerging West African Criminal Networks? The Case of Ghana

By Kwesi Aning, Global Crime, 2007

Original, thought-provoking research by the director of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra. The author takes an in-depth look at three types of organized crime: computer crime, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking and presents the initial results of an empirically based KAIPTC study on these three areas in Ghana. It concludes with an engaging, well-written conclusion about how such activities potentially undermine public institutions like the police, customs, and judiciary in Ghana. Finally, it places these types of organized crime in the context of the cultural norms of a Ghanaian society that for the most part has accepted these activities due to the social welfare roles played by those involved in such crimes.

Security Topics: Combating Organized Crime