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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, May 20, 2005

UN Report: High Crime Level Impedes Economic Development in Africa

From Reuters:  "JOHANNESBURG, 18 May (IRIN) - The rise of transnational organised crime in Africa has scared off foreign investment and undermines economic progress across the continent, a new United Nations study has found. In a report released on Tuesday, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) argued that despite the lack of credible or official data on crime, indicators suggest that Africa has a serious problem in maintaining law and order. Criminal activities in Africa were mainly the result of high levels of income inequality, rapid urbanisation, unemployment and poorly resourced criminal justice systems, the study found. It also noted that low conviction rates were directly linked to the lack of police and judges, with political instability seen as an additional catalyst for criminal activities. "Conflict had also destroyed the capacity of the state to secure order and to provide services to its citizens, which contributes to crime both during war and afterwards," the authors observed. In recent decades, Africa has experienced more wars than any other part of the world. Rising crime had also taken a toll on business confidence. Surveys conducted for the 2005 UN World Development Report revealed that African business leaders were twice as likley to cite crime as a major impediment to investment, compared to their peers in other parts of the world. The World Bank has identified corruption as the single greatest barrier to development."  [Mark Godsey]

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