Criminal governance during the pandemic in Cape Town and Nairobi

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Gangs have profound effects on low-income urban communities, particularly in rapidly-growing cities of Sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond their well-known role in trafficking drugs, gangs have come to hold power and to impose their own sets of rules and even services over some communities. This webinar will explore gangs’ governance over urban territories and their effects on armed violence and community life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, gangs’ localised power was on display in many areas of Cape Town and Nairobi. Their extortion activities weighed heavily on businesses and transport services. They often had control over some basic services (such as water delivery) and sometimes distributed supplies to their communities - though these services often push recipients deeper into the gangs’ grasp.

The webinar will show a short documentary titled 'Contested Ground: Inside Cape Town's gang wars’, followed by a discussion on criminal governance. This is part of the Global Initiative’s 'Criminal governance in cities during Covid-19’ project which has, with support of GIZ, studied the roles played by criminal organisations in urban territories during the pandemic, drawing from five case studies. The webinar will also briefly discuss parallels between African and Latin American cases

Lindy Mtongana

News anchor & reporter

Roegchanda Pascoe

Chairperson, Manenberg Safety forum

Joyce Kimani

Observatory Coordinator for East and Horn of Africa, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime

Antônio Sampaio

Senior Analyst, Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime