The illicit drug market in Africa and its harms


Various parts of Africa have become transit points for the global trade in illicit drugs. This event will explore the different dimensions of the trafficking, usage and impact of drugs in Africa in four thematic sessions.

The first session presents the findings of an ENACT research paper titled The heroin coast: A political economy along the eastern African seaboard, providing insight into the regional criminal economy linked to the heroin trade along the East and Southern African maritime route.

The second session focuses on an upcoming ENACT research paper that explores the relationship between drug demand and transnational organised crime in Africa. The continent is forecast to experience the largest rise in the absolute number of illicit drug users in coming decades, presenting a formidable problem to governments both in terms of law enforcement and a public health perspective.

The challenge of responding to drug trafficking in Africa underscores the cross-cutting nature of organised crime and the considerable impact that it can have on development prospects. The third session focuses on illicit narcotics and how they affect the continent’s ability to achieve several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The closing session presents INTERPOL’s assessment on drug trafficking in Eastern Africa in 2018, offering a summary of the key findings on narcotics included in INTERPOL’s 2018 report on the Strategic Assessment on Serious and Organised Crime in the Eastern African region.


Deo Gumba, Regional Organised Crime Observatory Coordinator for East and the Horn of Africa, ENACT, Institute for Security Studies.


Mark Shaw, Director, Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime

Eric Pelser, Programme Head – ENACT Project, Institute for Security Studies

Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director, Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime 

Nathalie Richard-Bober, ENACT Project Coordinator, INTERPOL 


Monique de Graaff: or Jacqueline Cochrane:

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ENACT is funded by the European Union
ENACT is implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in
affiliation with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime
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