Organised crime low in Namibia

10 October 2019 | Crime

Namibia is among the countries with the lowest level of organised crime in Africa.

This is according to a report by the Enact project, financed by the European Union (EU).

According to the first edition of the Enact Organised Crime Index, with data for 2018, Namibia scored an average of 3.82 points in the organised crime index, which scores countries between one and 10.

The figure is calculated between two scores. One refers to the prevalence of criminal markets, and the other refers to the structure in the country and the influence of criminal agents.

In the first case, the markets for human trafficking, crimes against fauna, flora and non-renewable resources, arms trafficking, and various types of drug trafficking (heroin, cocaine, cannabis and synthetic drugs) are taken into account.

The second indicator is calculated based on the intervention of groups that act as criminal networks, state agents or foreign criminal agents.

Sao Tome and Principe have the lowest level of organised crime in any African country with an average score of 1.88, while the top of the criminal index is occupied by Nigeria, with a score of 7.70 points, followed by the DRC with 7.29 points, and the Central African Republic (CAR) with 6.86 points.

The index ranks Namibia 44th in Africa, meaning the country scored well in terms of criminality and in relation to criminal markets.

It says the main criminal markets in Namibia are in the environmental sector, all scoring between 4.5 and 6.

“In relation to flora crimes, the illegal logging industry is significant and Namibia is also a transit country for timber from Africa destined for Asia.”

It says the market for exotic hardwoods is one of the largest of all illegal commercial enterprises in the country, and runs in parallel to legal markets for timber and charcoal. It was scored 6, the highest score of any of the country's criminal markets.

“Namibia also has a large market for ivory, rhino horn and pangolins for sale outside Africa. Reports have linked criminal syndicates with poaching and wildlife trafficking.” However, fauna crimes were scored 5.5, reflecting a decrease in poaching, according to the index.

“The market for illicit diamonds and gemstones in Namibia is considerable. An estimated 80% of small-scale mining is illegal.”

Furthermore, the markets for illicit narcotics in Namibia all score between 2 and 3, suggesting a very limited influence.

“Namibia is a trans-shipment country for cocaine, heroin and cannabis, but the volumes trafficked are on a minimal scale. Similarly, although a domestic market exists for cannabis, cocaine and synthetic drugs, the incidence of illegal narcotics use in Namibia is low, explaining the low scores experts attribute to the drug trades.”

According to the index human trafficking, human smuggling and arms trafficking are also judged to be minor issues in Namibia, with no market exceeding a score of 3.

“The human trafficking market is present but not ubiquitous, with children the most at risk. The market is not particularly organised.”

According to the index the criminal actors with the most influence are foreign actors, scoring 6.

“Gangs from neighbouring countries, but also from Asia, are established in Namibia. They are reportedly involved in numerous criminal markets, including the illicit trade in exotic hardwoods and animal parts.”

Criminal networks score 4.5, suggesting they exert a moderately negative influence on society. The index points out that organised syndicates are involved in the most significant illicit trades, particularly in relation to wildlife crimes and human trafficking.

“Although there is little evidence of the presence of mafia-style groups in Namibia, gangs are reported in prisons,” the report states.

Namibia recorded moderate scores for resilience, with all areas scoring between 3 and 6.5, culminating in an overall resilience ranking of 13th.

International cooperation, national policies and laws against organised crime, and the economic regulatory environment are all deemed to be effective.

“But experts note insufficient levels of funding to various institutions and government bodies, corruption and porous borders as areas of concern.”

The overall criminality score for Africa is 5. This score is composed by a 4.7 score for criminal markets, and 5.3 score for criminal actors. The resilience score is 3.9.