A triangle of vulnerability for illicit trafficking is emerging as a key geographic space along Africa’s eastern seaboard – the Swahili coast. At one apex of this triangle is Zanzibar, a major hub for illicit trade for decades, but one that is currently assuming greater importance. Further south, another apex is northern Mozambique. This area is experiencing significant conflict and instability, and is increasingly a key through route for the illicit trafficking of heroin into the continent and wildlife products from the interior. The final apex of the triangle is out to sea: the Comoros islands, lying 290 kilometres offshore from northern Mozambique and north-east of Madagascar. Comoros is not yet a major trafficking hub, but perennial political instability and its connections into the wider sub-regional trafficking economy make it uniquely vulnerable as illicit trade continues to evolve along the wider Swahili coastal region. These three apexes are linked by illicit economies and trade routes which take little heed of modern political boundaries.

A triangle of vulnerability - changing patterns of illicit trafficking off the Swahili coast

Download PDF
Share this article


Alastair Nelson

Alastair has 25 years’ experience implementing and leading field-conservation programs in the Horn of Africa, east and southern Africa. This includes designing, establishing and leading protected area support projects and multi-project country programs in Ethiopia and Mozambique, and supporting and/or overseeing similar programs in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Madagascar. Latterly his work included supporting Governments, NGOs and other partners to build capacity to tackle wildlife crime through targeted investigations into transnational networks, establishing wildlife crime units, strengthening policy, legislation and operational frameworks, and better understanding the drivers of wildlife crime.

Currently Alastair coordinates the GI’s Resilience Fund work in Mozambique, and is also conducting research into illicit trafficking, with a particular focus on the illegal wildlife trade, in Mozambique, Tanzania, the Comoros and Madagascar, amongst others.

Read more

Similar articles