U.S. Africa Command Staff
As COVID-19 swept the globe in 2020, security professionals were called on to perform new duties. They enforced quarantines, patrolled streets, guarded hospitals and transported lifesaving medical gear.
While much of the world went into lockdown, Soldiers stepped up.
And although the pandemic ignited a sense of shared purpose and a willingness to sacrifice, some have tried to take advantage of it.
Traffickers, pirates, poachers and other criminals saw an opportunity to operate more freely while the attention of the world was elsewhere. In some of the most reprehensible cases, traffickers tried to profit by manufacturing fake medicine or unsafe protective gear. In other cases, criminals on the web promoted scams designed to prey on the fearful.
Like other security challenges, COVID-19 brought out the best in humanity and the worst.
As life slowly but steadily adjusts to a new normal, African security professionals continue a commitment to dismantling the criminal networks that operate in the shadows. Technology is a force multiplier in this mission. In the Gulf of Guinea, maritime domain awareness professionals are using surveillance tools to track illegal fishing and piracy. In Mauritius and many other African countries, cyber security experts are building digital structures to secure the web. In Nigeria and Kenya, digital initiatives are helping authorities track medication and spot fakes.
COVID-19 forced the world to change by practicing social distancing and working remotely. It also led to innovations and adaptations by those who keep us safe. By putting cutting-edge tools in the hands of determined and knowledgeable professionals, Africa’s security forces can stay one step ahead of criminal networks.