Support for AFRIPOL

INTERPOL Support Programme for the African Union in relation to AFRIPOL (ISPA)

Timeframe: 2020 - 2023
Budget: EUR 12 million
Donor: German Federal Foreign Office

Stronger law enforcement cooperation for a safer Africa

AFRIPOL is an independent mechanism of the African Union (AU) and a key stakeholder in the area of international police cooperation and in the fight against transnational organized crime.

As a regional police organization, AFRIPOL provides a framework for police cooperation at the strategic, tactical and operational levels in all African states.

INTERPOL’s Support Programme for the African Union in relation to AFRIPOL (ISPA) assists AFRIPOL in developing its strategic framework and operational functions across the continent and in fighting transnational crime in cooperation with INTERPOL and other regional policing bodies.

Programme objectives

The ISPA Programme supports AFRIPOL to strengthen its position as the lead institution in Africa for preventing and combating transnational organized crime, terrorism and cybercrime.

It promotes the development of AFRIPOL’s capabilities in these crime areas, in terms of operations and investigations, criminal analysis and the exchange of information, knowledge and best practices.

These activities will enable AFRIPOL to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of police across Africa by assessing crime threats, harmonizing police methods and fostering good governance, in line with national policies.

Programme activities

The ISPA Programme provides support to AFRIPOL under five pillars:

  1. Governance: Support the AFRIPOL Secretariat in developing its structure and governance mechanism by providing strategic advice, deployments and support on data protection.
  2. Criminal Networks: Develop AFRIPOL’s capabilities in detecting and dismantling criminal networks, divided into three sub-pillars: terrorism, organized and emerging crime, and cybercrime.
  3. Communication Systems: Provide technical support with extension of INTERPOL’s I-24/7 secure global police communications system and interoperability of messaging systems.
  4. Databases: Support AFRIPOL in assessing and developing databases and other technical services.
  5. Criminal Intelligence Analysis: Create a central intelligence analysis unit in the AFRIPOL headquarters, specialized in both strategic and operational analysis.

AFRIPOL as a key stakeholder in the global security architecture

AFRIPOL is a key member of the INTERPOL “Dialogue on an effective multilateral policing architecture against global threats”. Launched in 2016, The Dialogue engages regional police organizations around the world in regular high-level discussions about the current and evolving global security situation.

The meetings emphasize the need for greater strategic and operational coordination among regional and international policing bodies in order to avoid duplication of effort and to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Longstanding cooperation between INTERPOL and the African Union

INTERPOL and the African Union work side by side on matters of joint interest, sharing resources and expertise, and developing combined responses to Africa’s policing needs. This ongoing cooperation was formalized with the signing of an Agreement  between the AU and INTERPOL in 2011.

In 2016 INTERPOL created the Office of the Special Representative of INTERPOL to the African Union (SRIAU), complementing the four INTERPOL Regional Bureaus based in Nairobi, Harare, Yaoundé, and Abidjan.

Project updates

February-March 2022
INTERPOL’s mission to AFRIPOL Headquarters


INTERPOL ISPA programme’s first mission to the AFRIPOL Headquarters in Algiers confirmed the strategic importance of cooperation between INTERPOL and AFRIPOL as key to strengthening security in the African continent. Over two weeks (15 February to 1 March 2022), the ISPA and AFRIPOL teams took part in discussions, technical workshops and large-scale planning exercises covering all aspects of the programme, including data protection, legal questions and operational pillars.

The Steering Committee – co-chaired by Executive Director of AFRIPOL Dr Tarek Sharif and INTERPOL Executive Director for Police Services Stephen Kavanagh – adopted a clear work plan, setting out the support INTERPOL will provide to AFRIPOL over the next six months and the longer-term priorities.