28 Feb 2022

Shaping crime: risks and opportunities in Africa’s aviation infrastructure

This policy brief asks whether current efforts to counter trafficking via air transport adequately and effectively respond to the threat.

The development of transport infrastructure boosts trade and stimulates economic growth. However, this infrastructure can also benefit criminal networks, which use air transport to traffic illicit goods such as drugs, wildlife and gold. Their activities are disguised from regulatory bodies, and many act in collusion with corrupt officials. However, this can be countered by implementing effective oversight measures. This is crucial considering the substantial expansion of African air traffic in recent years, forecasts that Africa will continue to be one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for aviation, and the challenges that the aviation sector globally is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the author

Julia Stanyard is an analyst at the Global Initiative. She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cambridge. Her MPhil thesis was on crime prevention strategies taken to combat the illicit antiquities trade. She has recently completed a fellowship with the British Institute for Eastern Africa, researching illicit antiquities in Africa.

Photo: © Alamy Stock Photo

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