US hold experts meeting on counter-narcotics, anti-crime assistance in West Africa

The U.S. Department of State on February 21, 2012, held an experts meeting along the margins of the G8 Roma-Lyon Group in Washington, D.C. on how to provide assistance to fight narcotics and crimes in West Africa.

West Africans are facing a growing danger from transnational criminal organizations, particularly narcotics traffickers which according to the US are threatening its collective security and regional stability interests on the continent.

“Our main purpose for gathering was to share programme plans for the year, review mechanisms for sustained donor coordination, and discuss engagement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” a US State Department statement said February 22, 2012.

According to the statement, the US Government’s West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI), a whole-of-government approach to combating transnational organized crime in West Africa, is “our way of contributing to greater regional security”.

Through WACSI, the Department of State said it will partner with the donor community to engage ECOWAS and support its strategy – “Regional Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crimes and Drug Abuse in West Africa.”

The Stakeholders for counternarcotics and anti-crime assistance in West Africa, including Canada, Colombia, European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, participated in the meeting.

By Ekow Quandzie

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