Fight against drug trafficking, organised crime: new thinking and approaches needed

Fight against drug trafficking, organised crime: new thinking and approaches needed

The first general lesson for governments and donor agencies that design programmes to counter cross-border criminal networks is that new approaches are required, because current ones are not working, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said last week in its weekly report.

The Pretoria-based think-tank said projects funded by the UN, international agencies, European Commission and more than 15 donor countries, and supported by the  Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to counter transnational organised crime and drug trafficking in West Africa have brought no credible results as the problem seems to have worsened.

Nigeria topped the list of countries with the highest trafficking and use of drugs in West Africa, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said in its report published in March 2013.

Guinea Bissau and Mali closely follow Nigeria as the major transit routes for drugs in destination to Europe, INCB said.

Most of the cocaine sold in the streets of Africa and Europe is produced in Latin America. Since this traffic traverses 36 countries, ISS believes that the best way to fight this battle was to tackle it from the source all the way to the market.

This is what the European Union had in mind when it launched the so-called Cocaine Route Programme in 2009 at a whopping cost of €30 million (US$45 million). The programme aimed at enhancing capacity for international cooperation among the law enforcement and judicial services of the countries and regional organisations involved.

Peter Gastrow, ISS senior research consultant, said in the weekly report that the Cocaine Route Progamme should serve as an example of new thinking on the issue, even though the jury is still out on exactly how effective it is.

Gastrow, who is also the senior advisor for Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, said a second lesson for governments and civil society related to the importance of political will and determination to effectively counter corruption, which he described as a key destructive and undermining factor.

“Responses to organised crime was being undermined by corruption. In many countries corruption now extends to the highest levels of government and the private sector, and permeates down through all levels of state institutions and societal fabric,” Gastrow said.

The result is impunity, particularly for the elites, he wrote.

In countries such as Guinea Bissau, South Africa, Zambia, DRC, Nigeria and Angola, to name only a few, where political and business elites are corrupt to the core, the fight against corruption appears to be insincere and superficial, just to fool the people that something is being done about it.

Therefore, drug trafficking and organised crime in Africa are here to stay unless these corrupt elites are booted out. Soon and very soon.

Check also this link:  http://moonofthesouth.com/nigeria-tops-list-drug-trafficking/

Photo: Politic365.com

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