In this issue of the Risk Bulletin, we present two stories from East Africa and two from South Africa that explore how organized crime issues link in to wider political and social landscapes.

1. It may be the end of an era for the captive lion industry in South Africa – what does this mean for the lion bone trade?

Our lead story from South Africa looks into the implications of the government’s recent announcement that it will bring an end to the country’s controversial and large-scale captive lion industry and the international trade in lion body parts and skeletons.

2. Rampant extortion of foreign-owned shops in Gqeberha: a worrying trend.

Gangs in Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth), in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, have been increasingly extorting foreign-owned shops – particularly local grocery shops known as ‘spaza’ shops – and other small businesses.

3. What the chequered history of the ‘Somali 7’ fishing fleet tells us about the political economy of IUU fishing in Somalia.

Our investigations in Somalia have explored how different crime and corruption issues interconnect. Foreign fishing fleets routinely engage in IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing in Somali waters.

4. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: investigating the illicit cigarette trade from Tanzania to Kenya.

On the border between Kenya and Tanzania, we look at the booming economy for smuggling cigarettes out of Tanzania. This has emerged in large part because Tanzania sets far lower excise tax levels on tobacco products, meaning that cigarettes smuggled across to Kenya can be sold cheaper than comparable Kenyan cigarettes. This large-scale tax avoidance deprives the Kenyan state of potential revenue and creates opportunity for criminal actors to profit.


The stories in the Risk Bulletin are drawn from GI-TOC’s network of analysts and researchers, who form the basis of our Civil Society Observatory of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africawhich has hubs in Nairobi and Cape Town.

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