IOM launches new Italian-Funded Project to Combat Transnational Crime in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger

Family photo during the meeting. Photo : IOM

From left to right, Barbara Rijks IOM Niger Chief of Mission, Saidou Halidou Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior and Decentralisation, Emilia Gatto Ambassador of Italy on Niamey. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kouawo.

Niamey - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Italy's International Cooperation launched on 16 February a new project in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to improve border security and community resilience in the border regions. The 18-month project entitled "Improving border management and community resilience to cross-border organized crime in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, with a focus on the central Mediterranean route," is funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

It aims more specifically to combat transnational crime, including smuggling and trafficking of migrants. The deterioration of security and the proliferation of armed groups exacerbate the humanitarian context in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Border communities, displaced persons, and migrants are increasingly physically and mentally vulnerable in this area and along migration routes to North Africa and Europe, which is already major smuggling and human trafficking corridor.

This new project will help improve border security and reinforce community resilience in cross-border areas in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. “Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso face the challenge of continuing to facilitate the movement of people and goods to benefit trade and development, while ensuring cross border security. ” says Barbara Rijks, IOM Niger Chief of Mission.

All relevant national and regional partners participated in the launch, including the Directorate General of the National Police (DGPN), the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST), the Directorate of Communication and Information Technology (DTI), the Governors of Zinder, Maradi, and Agadez, as well as representatives of the Regional Directorate of Public Health, Regional Directorate of the National Police (DRPN), and the Regional Councils of Zinder, Maradi, Agadez, and Diffa. “This project will support the Government of Niger in the development of the infrastructural, material and institutional capacities of all defence and security forces at the borders and represents a further opportunity to consolidate specific security and development interventions in the cross-border areas”, says the Secretary General of the Ministry of the Interior.

During the event, partners including governmental, regional and local authorities identified priorities in their respective work areas in line with the project objectives, and made recommendations for the success of the project. Since 2015, IOM has been supporting the governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger in the fight against smuggling of migrants and illegal goods along the central Mediterranean route, promoting a more sustainable and integrated border management approach for orderly, safe and regular migration.


For more information, please contact Aïssatou Sy at IOM Niger,