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Corruption and Criminality in Africa


An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers.

One of the world’s most promising, and in terms of economy, fastest-growing regions, sub-Saharan Africa, is under attack by transnational criminal networks. Corruption is one of their major weapons.

One of the world’s most promising, and in terms of economy, fastest-growing regions, sub-Saharan Africa, is under attack by transnational criminal networks. Corruption is one of their major weapons.

Corruption is an abuse of power at every level that impacts rich and poor countries alike, in both the private and public sectors. Corruption destroys trust, undermines development, and erodes confidence in democratic institutions. It distorts markets, causes higher prices, discourages investors, and stunts economic growth. And it is particularly destructive to communities in developing countries, where it blocks development and progress.

As the criminal networks see it, you must spend money to make money, and that goes double for corruption. And transnational crime is tremendously lucrative, accounting for 8 to 15 percent of the world gross domestic product.

“Hundreds of millions of [dollars] every year enable criminals and other threat networks to corrupt the regional economies and the global financial system,” said Senior Director for National Security and Diplomacy Anti-Crime Programs at the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, David Luna:

“The proceeds of drug trafficking and other forms of illicit trafficking are fueling a dramatic increase in corruption among the very institutions responsible for fighting crime.

The collusion and complicity of some government officials with criminal networks have helped carve out an illicit trafficking corridor that stretches from the West African coast to the Horn of Africa, from North Africa south to the Gulf of Guinea.”

“Across these illicit routes, bad actors and networks are corrupting critical institutions and enforcement systems that endanger everyone’s security,” said David Luna.

The United States is determined, in cooperation with our partners in Africa, to disrupt and dismantle transnational organized crime networks.

In support of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Transnational Criminal Organizations, the United States will continue to assist our partners to strengthen their capabilities to combat today’s threat networks, said Mr. Luna.

“We must crackdown on corruption at all levels and cut off the ability of kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists to enjoy the fruits of illicit enterprise and that enable the financial capacity to execute their operations.”

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