Foreign criminals are a significant presence in Africa. Four typologies of foreign criminal actors are identified, allowing an exploration into why some actors develop more successful criminal enterprises than others.

Success appears to be the result of a slow embedment in the local criminal economy, avoiding displays of wealth and the targeted corruption of officials. It also depends on the expansion of ethnic networks where high levels of trust or coercion of members prevent law enforcement penetration. Eroding these successful criminal operations requires an ability to disrupt recruitment into the networks and ultimately their more effective integration into legitimate economic activities.