Transnational organised crime in the Central African region poses a wide range of serious threats to security both locally and globally. As a result, INTERPOL under the European Union–funded ENACT Project has sought to identify and assess organised crime in the region to drive a more strategic law enforcement response.
International criminal organisations continue to target Central Africa because of the significant illicit wealth that can be generated. Potential criminal proceeds stem from illicit market opportunities that exploit various social and political vulnerabilities, state fragility, limited policing capacities, and corruption issues present to varying degrees throughout the region.
International criminal organisations or networks operating in Central Africa rely on key facilitators who interlink crime syndicates that provide illicit goods and services throughout the region and to the rest of the world. Crime syndicates typically operate across borders and are active in a number of illicit markets, notably fraud and financial crimes, drug trafficking, environmental crimes, human trafficking as well as organised theft and robbery. In addition, there are a number of enabling crimes such as cybercrime and the trade in small arms and light weapons that support organised criminality throughout the region. These crimes overlap with all of the illicit markets noted in complex ways. Organised crime in the region generates significant profits for all those involved with substantial interregional financial flows and illicit profits heading offshore, as well as money laundering occurring on a global scale.
The threat posed by organised crime to the Central African region is substantial yet there is limited capacity amongst law enforcement to manage this complex phenomenon. Although organised crime in Central Africa may go underreported and undetected in some cases, various data sources nonetheless reveal important illicit activities and dynamics of criminal groups and networks active in the region which need to be urgently addressed through strong, strategic partnerships between law enforcement agencies as well as with other concerned stakeholders.
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