In this ninth issue of the Risk Bulletin of Illicit Economies in Eastern and Southern Africa (June-July 2020), we report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on illicit economies, and how organized crime groups are both weathering the storm of the pandemic and exploiting new opportunities.  We:

  • Report on how longstanding corruption issues in Somalia’s healthcare system have been manifested anew, as aid aimed at supporting the country in fighting COVID-19 has been diverted to markets within the country;
  • Investigate the emergence of new smuggling routes for khat into Somalia a lockdown restrictions enforce a temporary ban on import of the narcotic leaf;
  • Explore the fallout of a similar ban imposed on alcohol and tobacco products in South Africa, which has brought about soaring prices for illicit tobacco and increased smuggling;
  • Analyse the impact of the pandemic on the longstanding human smuggling route to Mayotte, which has undergone unprecedented disruption as migrants flee the twin pressures of the pandemic and economic deprivation;
  • Report on the increased pressure of police extortion targeted at gang members in Kenya.