[JURIST] The increasing organized crime in Eastern Africa (EA) must be tackled both within the region and the markets where illicit goods will be delivered, according to a report [text, PDF] published Wednesday by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] . According to the report, in 2012 more than 100,000 people paid smugglers to transport them to Yemen, and over two tons of heroin were trafficked to and through EA. Further, the report states that each year up to 15,400 elephants are poached in EA, producing up to 154 metric tons of illicit ivory, of which two-thirds is sent to Asia. Finally, an estimated 15 percent of Somalia’s 2011 GDP was reportedly brought in by Somalian pirates. The UNODC wrote:
Most of the population of Eastern Africa is poor, and their governments have limited capacity to deter cross-border criminality. Poverty and weak governance also increase the potential for corruption, rendering Eastern Africa a relatively attractive region to traffic from, though, and to. Until the rule of law is firmly established in the region, these crimes and others like them are likely to continue.
While EA’s local governments must be strengthened, “purely local interventions are inadequate,” because EA’s illicit markets often originate or terminate on other continents, according to the UNODC.
In June the UNODC and the government of Japan came to an agreement [UNODC press release] to increase efforts to combat drug and human trafficking in Africa and Southeast Asia. The agreement was reached at the end of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Yokohama, Japan. The new Plan of Action attempts to combat these problems through an integrated approach that attacks the causes of this type of illegal activity—poverty. Specifically, in the Sahel region of Africa, the group will attempt to address these growing problems by increasing crop production and manufacturing systems so that legitimate economies may thrive. Japan announced that it will also be contributing $1 billion to the $32 billion fund to increase efforts over the next five years.