EU, Germany In Partnership With ECOWAS Spends EUR 41M On Organised Crimes

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Government officially launched the ‘Organised Crime: West African Response’ (OCWAR) projects supporting ECOWAS Member States in countering criminal activities the region.The event showcased the strong commitment of both ECOWAS and European Union Member States to reduce transnational organised crime in West Africa. In a dynamic and comprehensive partnership, the ECOWAS Commission and its agencies will work closely with two European Member States’ bodies, namely the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Expertise France (EF).”Many criminal activities in West Africa are transnational in nature and demand a regional response to effectively strike down on criminal networks. We hope that the support will boost a regional response decisively addressing all forms of organised crime. This is vital for peace and security.” says the Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Ketil KARLSEN.”The current security challenges in the Sahel underscore the need for decisive multilateral cooperation. Transnational crime in West Africa needs to be met with a regional response. Countering and preventing organized crime in West Africa continues to be a high priority for Germany.” says the German Ambassador Birgitt ORY.The OCWAR projects’ inauguration coincides with the emerging need for a broad response to tackling the criminal activities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the event focused on addressing the impact of the virus, which has led to new patterns and trends as criminal networks adapt to the constraints imposed on citizens, businesses and authorities. Organised crime in West Africa takes many forms. The three OCWAR projects are designed as a coherent, three-pronged approach to criminal activities: 1) fight against cybersecurity threats and cybercrime (OCWAR C); 2) combatting trafficking in drugs, human beings and firearms (OCWAR T); 3) addressing cross cutting issues such as money laundering, financing of terrorism and fraud (OCWAR M). The main beneficiaries of the OCWAR projects are all 15 ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania. The overall EU contribution equals EUR 41 million, which includes the German Federal Government co-financing of the OCWAR T project totalling EUR 5 million. The projects will run until 2022-2023.Working on all three fronts will allow for greater synergy and strengthening of inter-agency collaboration. Moreover, the projects build on and complement previous and on-going EU-funded support, including to the West Africa Police Information System (WAPIS).   

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