Terrorism and Organized Crime Nexus in East Africa

Terrorism and Organized Crime Nexus in East Africa

13 September 2021

The nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime (TOC) has many context-specific manifestations ranging from coexistence to collaboration and convergence. Terrorist groups can benefit from TOC, including through the trafficking of arms, persons, drugs, the illicit trade in natural resources, money laundering and kidnapping for ransom, among others. In the East Africa region, the evolving nature of the nexus poses a growing threat to national and international security.

Against this background, the GCTF Capacity-Building in the East Africa Region Working Group organized its Fourth Plenary Meeting with a specific focus on the nexus between terrorism and TOC. The meeting provided East African countries and other stakeholders with the opportunity to 1) enhance their knowledge on the regional manifestations of the nexus; 2) report on relevant national policies and programs; and, 3) identify best practices, lessons learned and existing gaps.

East African countries and organizations stressed the need to develop tailor-made responses based on research and analysis on the manifestations of the nexus. Participants highlighted the importance of involving civil society organizations as well as youth. They also noted that emphasis should be placed on cooperation and coordination of efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels to address the linkage.

Terrorists and organized crime groups often misuse porous and vast ungoverned spaces along borders in the East Africa region for their operations. Overall, participants identified the need for enhanced capacity-building, in particular strengthening border security management.

The importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism and TOC such as poverty and good governance was further discussed by participants. Upholding the rule of law and strengthening anti-corruption legislation can enhance the integrity of state institutions.

GCTF Resources on the Nexus

The GCTF has developed a number of Framework Documents, tools and other resources that can help stakeholders to better understand and tackle the nexus between terrorism and transnational organized crime: