West Africans are facing a growing danger from transnational criminal organizations, particularly narcotics traffickers. Traffickers threaten the collective security and regional stability interests of the United States, our African partners, and the international community.
On February 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of State chaired an experts meeting on West Africa along the margins of the G8 Roma-Lyon Group in Washington, D.C. 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 of Drugs and Crime, participated in the meeting. Our main purpose for gathering was to share program plans for the year, review mechanisms for sustained donor coordination, and discuss engagement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The U.S. 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. WACSI is based on the premise that cooperation with international partners and donor coordination is essential to successfully combat transnational crime.
Through WACSI, the Department of State will partner with the donor community to engage ECOWAS and support its strategy, the Regional Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crimes and Drug Abuse in West Africa.