Budget: EUR 26 million
Donors: European Union & French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Africa has enjoyed increasing stability and rising economic growth in recent decades, but this has also facilitated cross-border organized crime.
Organized crime groups are involved in a diverse range of illicit markets that are increasingly interconnected: from trafficking in drugs, people, arms, wildlife and fake medicines, to illegal logging and mining. Often linked to terrorism, these illicit economies drive conflict and undermine regional peace-building efforts.
In recent years, the continent’s rapid technological development, including its e-commerce industry and mobile technologies, has brought with it a proliferation of cybercrime and illicit online activities. Criminal networks are exploiting the continent’s weak IT infrastructure, with threats including ransomware, new malware, social media scams and mobile money fraud.
Project ENACT is the first of its kind to analyse the scale of organized crime across the entire African continent and its impact on security, governance and development.
The analysis serves to inform policy-makers and strengthen cooperation at the regional and international levels.
Through this project, INTERPOL assists police in Africa to adopt proactive strategies to combat organized crime threats, facilitate information exchange and enhance their investigative skills.
This is achieved through:
- Criminal analysis and capacity building training –Police officers acquire the necessary skills to become instructors in criminal intelligence analysis at a national level;
- Providing equipment, analytical software, access to INTERPOL databases and regular mentoring to support targeted countries open their criminal intelligence analysis unit;
- Offering African women in law enforcement agencies a safe networking environment to share knowledge in preventing and fighting transnational organized crime. The aim is to promote empowerment, best practices and career development.
INTERPOL reports produced under Project ENACT give insights into specific types of organized crime in Africa. They provide understanding and analysis to enable law enforcement officers and decision-makers to devise the appropriate responses.
They also help identify possible trends and connections between different crimes as well as strengthen cooperation at regional and continental levels.
Examples of published reports are:
- Organized crime and armed conflicts in Eastern Africa (June 2022) – Armed groups are diversifying their revenues, which are increasingly based on organized crime activities;
- Human trafficking for organ removal in Western and Northern Africa (July 2021) – This crime is of particular concern and impoverished communities are at greater risk of exploitation;
- Illegal gold mining in Central Africa (June 2021) – Illegal gold mining is also linked to other serious criminal activities, such as human trafficking, financial crime and poaching;
- Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on illicit medication in East Africa (December 2020) – Organized crime groups took advantage of the pandemic to sell counterfeit and substandard medications;
- Mobile money industry in Africa (June 2020) – Criminals have exploited weaknesses in regulations and identification systems to commit mobile money-enabled crimes.
Public versions of the reports listed above, and more, can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. The reports are published in English, with some also available in French and Arabic.
Project ENACT is funded by the European Union and implemented by INTERPOL, the Institute for Security Studies/ISS and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime/GI-TOC.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provided INTERPOL with some funding for ENACT during phase 2.
Establishment of analytical units in Africa
The establishment of analytical units in Africa is a long-term goal of Project ENACT. Supported by INTERPOL, police authorities opened analytical units in Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire between 2022 and 2023. Five units were previously opened in Gabon, Malawi, Uganda, Congo and Niger between 2017 and 2021.
Through this project, INTERPOL has provided the units with several analytical software programs and expertise. The units can also search INTERPOL databases in real time as part of their investigations. Supporting the creation of additional criminal analytical units in other parts of the continent will effect long-term change in terms of African policing capacity.
2019 – Workshops and seminars
INTERPOL’s awareness seminar and workshop brought together senior law enforcement officers from the Congo, Malawi, Niger and Uganda. They highlighted the importance of criminal intelligence analysis in strengthening police investigations and fighting organized crime from illegal arms smuggling to wildlife crime, cybercrime, human trafficking and terrorism.
2018 – Conferences
Two conferences were organized in 2018 under the ENACT project. Entitled ‘Understanding and Countering Organized Crime in Africa with Criminal Intelligence Analysis,’ the conferences brought together 136 senior officers from 47 African countries. Participants stressed the need to exchange information, adopt proactive strategies to address cross-border crime and improve police