Support to Transnational Crime Units under the West Africa Coast Initiative
The scale of criminal activities such as transnational organized crime and in particular illicit trafficking of drugs, small arms and light weapons and other goods, seriously threaten any efforts to stabilize and develop political and social institutions in West Africa.
In order to significantly improve this situation and to secure peace and security in the region, the West African Coast Initiative (WACI), within the context of the ECOWAS Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa, strives to create Transnational Crime Units (TCU) to enhance national and international coordination and to enable intelligence-based investigations. TCU will be inter-agency units which coordinate and support the action of law enforcement agencies against illicit drug trafficking and organized crime groups.
The project develops linkages with ongoing national, regional, bilateral and multilateral actions conducted in West Africa. Specifically it supports selected ECOWAS member states (Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone) and the ECOWAS region at large in their implementation of the ECOWAS Action Plan.
Project outcomes at the country level are (i) The creation of 5 TCUs as central national enforcement units in the mentioned countries; and (ii) Functioning and operational TCUs staffed from various enforcement agencies, with well-trained officers and required equipment to carry out their operations.
As a result an increase in cases investigated and persons prosecuted is expected (e.g. more than 270 cases annually in Sierra Leone).
At the regional level, the key project outcome is an increased exchange of information and intelligence among ECOWAS member states, between member states and the ECOWAS Commission, and the creation of interconnected national inter-agency units with increased capacity to fight against illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in an international framework.