Lack of digital police records in Africa hinders fight against crime: Interpol

Wednesday March 30 2022

Newly elected INTERPOL President H.E Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi makes his remarks during the 10th African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) Steering Committee meeting held at Sarova Panafric on March 30, 2022.PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG


The lack of digitisation of police records and systems in Africa is hindering efforts by the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to combat crime in the region.

As a result, Interpol president General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi notes that the continent contributes just 0.78 percent of all Interpol records, a very low figure compared to the 21 percent contributed by Central and South America Interpol states.

The Emirati General who also serves as the United Arab Emirates minister for Interior is in Nairobi for the 10th meeting of the steering committee of the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (Afripol) that began Wednesday.

“Africa’s population is now at 1.3 billion today representing 16 percent of the world’s population. The population is expected to grow to 2.5 billion people by 2050, accounting for 26 percent of the world’s population,” he said.

“By 2100, Africa will be a major economic and global force and I believe you will agree that for the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to succeed, information must flow effectively across the continents including police information,” Al Raisi said.

He challenged African countries to embrace the digitalisation of police records and integrate data in a way that is easy to understand, use and deploy.


Though Interpol engages in joint operations against organised crime and terrorism in Africa, a lack of data on crimes committed in Africa hinders full-length understanding of the depth of criminal networks in the region.

Additionally, the continent misses out on the organisation’s assistance to identify missing persons through DNA Matching through its I-familia platform.

I-Familia is a global database for identifying missing persons based on DNA kinship matching that was launched less than a year ago to address the growing cases of missing persons and unidentified bodies across the world due to the prevalence of organised crime and human trafficking, global migration and natural disasters.

It is intended for use in identifying human remains that cannot be identified using a member state’s sole national system.

The meeting will seek to review Afripol priorities to reflect on emerging and existing complex entrenched cross border crimes such as cybercrime, money laundering, mobile phone fraud, identity theft, phishing scams, terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, small arms trade, theft of motor vehicles, livestock smuggling, contrabands and general organised theft.

Kenya's Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i noted that combating international crime is an expensive undertaking that is pushing governments to allocate more resources to security budgets. 

"Spending more on intelligence gathering, police reforms, costly equipment and more officers for strategic deployment has become inevitable,” Dr Matiang’i said.

Kenya's Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai who is also the current Afripol president, the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, a recent appointee to the Interpol executive committee and other senior National Police Service officers were also present.