André Pienaar to speak at panel discussion on Digital Warfare at London Summit 2018

André Pienaar will be part of a panel discussion entitled ‘Digital Warfare: Defending Ourselves in Space and Online’ at the Milken Institute as part of the London Summit 2018.

Bringing together many of the leading minds in business, government, technical, philanthropy and media, the Milken Institute’s 8th annual London Summit will host a number of discussions tackling the most provocative and important questions of our time.

The ‘Digital Warfare: Defending Ourselves in Space and Online’ panel discussion will include a discussion on the overarching themes of cyber warfare, cyber security and space technology. Andre will share his thoughts on recent high-profile hacking episodes and what organisations can do to prevent future threats. There will also be discussion on several related, equally important topics such as the emergent protective technologies and how these current threats affect the way we conduct interstate relations, trade and warfare in the future as well as discussion on how military and civilian companies can work together to combat these pervasive, modern threats.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Kevin Klowden, Executive Director at the Center for Regional Economics and California Centre, Milken Institute. The panel will also include Drew Bagley, Vice President and Counsel, Privacy and Cyber Policy at CrowdStrike, Jamil Jaffer, Vice President for Strategy and Business Development of IronNet Cybersecurity and Nick Shave, Director of Strategic Programmes, Inmarsat; Chair, UKspace Security and Defence Committee.

The event will take place of Tuesday, December 4 between 10:15-11:15am at Park Plaza – Place 4-6.

More information about this event is available here.

Welcome remarks to the innovation and social impact investment dinner during the AWS Imagine Conference in Seattle.

André Pienaar, Founder, C5
7th August, 2018

Napoleon said that in war, the moral forces are three to one. In C5, we believe the same about investment and about innovation.

It therefore gives us great pleasure to host the second dinner on social impact investment and innovation during the AWS Imagine Conference in Seattle this week.

Why is C5, as a venture capital firm, a partner of AWS? AWS is not an investor in C5. As a venture capital firm our investor families decided to partner with AWS, not because of money, but because of the moral forces.

This may sound like an uncommercial way of thinking by our investor families, but let me explain to you how we think in C5.

Venture capital is all about building profitable partnerships with successful entrepreneurs. AWS’s support for startups and entrepreneurs worldwide is simply unrivalled. We are often amazed to see how an almost trillion-dollar company like Amazon can focus on the success of a small startup that runs on AWS. Our family investors are investing to help make a difference. We had an inspirational day today sharing innovation for not-for-profit missions with each other. As evidenced by the Imagine Conference, we can also say that AWS’s support for not-for-profits and their missions worldwide is exceptional. Finally, AWS and its people’s consistent quest for innovation struck a chord with us. We share a belief that innovation is not only about improving products and services for customers but also about creating new models for serving others.

It is a combination of these three factors that led C5 to join the AWS Activate programme through which AWS supports accelerators and startups worldwide.

Now, let me share with you our experiment in innovating social impact investment. C5, with the PeaceTech Lab, AWS and SAP NS2 run an accelerator in Washington DC that focuses on peacetech. The term “peacetech” may be completely new to you. What does “peacetech” mean?

Peacetech is about the drawing on all of the strengths of American innovation for good rather than for bad. American innovation is unique. It is uniquely built on an open innovation model. This model not only shares the benefits of its innovation worldwide, but also often shares the actual know-how with partners. The world has benefited exponentially from this model over many years.

This has been accelerated by cloud computing, which reduces the costs of computing power for everyone by 50 percent every three years. This is an extraordinary boon to the global economy. The pace at which cloud is reducing the cost of computing power makes innovation more accessible to everyone, year on year. The top 10 cloud computing companies are all American. The cloud sector is a great strength of the US economy. Cloud is the beating heart of innovation today not only in the US but worldwide.
Peacetech is built on this open and inclusive innovation model. Peacetech is also built on the power of the cloud to scale rapidly. It is a movement to scale startups and technologies that can help accelerate development, prevent conflict and, as President Reagan said “build a strong peace for America and for everyone.”

In the PeaceTech Accelerator, we do this with our partners by building a network of more than 1,800 entrepreneurs, who are really young leaders, many of them from conflict-affected countries who are dedicated to this mission to innovate the way in which we develop countries and manage conflict.

To give you just 3 recent examples: Anona helps subsistence farmers in East Africa use blockchain to bring transparency to the way they get paid in the supply chain to supermarkets by cutting out the middle men; Hala Systems help to protect civilian populations through cloud linked sensors from air attacks in the Syrian civil war; Video Volunteers empower citizen journalists in India to help achieve factual and accurate media reporting.

Practically, this means that we help scale these startups by giving them 5 C’s during their time in the Accelerator: (1) We build the capacity of the team; (2) We help them to get smarter about using the cloud; (3) We work to win transformative clients; (4) We teach how to raise capital and; (5) We certify the startups at the end of the programme.

We build this partnership through an intensive programme of mentorship on campus over 8 weeks. We are privileged to have an amazing and committed community of mentors, each a leader in their field, who volunteers their time to help scale the startups.

Our accelerator is an experiment in innovating early stage venture capital and social impact investment.

Innovation requires resilience because it can bring great adversity to the innovators. I am reminded of Jumo Games, one of our first startups, that bring communities together through gaming in the world’s poorest country in the midst of a devastating civil war. No one knows this adversity better than our entrepreneurs who are building their businesses against the odds, often out of poverty, to help bring peace in conflict-affected countries.

We want to say a heartfelt thanks tonight to our resilient partners: to the Peacetech Lab, to SAP NS2 and to AWS; to our mentors; and most importantly, to our entrepreneurs, for your strength of commitment.

In conclusion, yes, innovation can bring adversity. But innovation also gives unrivalled freedom; freedom from the chains of old broken models. As a young man, I had the privilege to meet Nelson Mandela. Mandela was an innovation leader throughout his life. He was imprisoned for 27 years as a result, in a desolate place and often in solitary confinement. Mandela loved reciting a poem called “Invictus” to encourage young people in adversity. Invictus is Latin for “unconquerable”. Mandela’s favourite lines from this poem were:

“It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

This, is the freedom of innovation.

Thank you.

C5 believes Not-for-Profits matter.

Great panel discussion on cybersecurity for not for profits at the AWS Imagine Conference in Seattle with Jamil Jaffer, Vice President of IronNet Cybersecurity, William Kilmer, CEO of ITC Secure, Greg Miller, COO of the OSET Foundation and Rajat Varuni of AWS


Cybersecurity in Africa- Risks and Opportunities

Remarks to International Development Partners’  Conference, London, 19 June


C5 is a specialist global venture capital firm focused on cyber, cloud and AI. These 3 areas are closely intertwined and we call them collectively the secure data ecosystem.

When we think about investing in Africa we see on the one hand exciting opportunities and on the other hand challenging cybersecurity risk.

As you will see from my remarks the opportunity outstrips the cybersecurity risks. The cybersecurity risks can be mitigated by determined action, good policy and by building partnerships and coalitions for safety and security.



Africa is the future in the 21st century. It is the only continent that will produce a billion young people by 2050. Africa continues to have some of the world’s fastest growing economies. We are only at the beginning of a process of integrating markets across Africa under the leadership of the Africa Union (AU). We are just at the beginning of the continent’s digital transformation with internet penetration at only 25 percent across the continent vs 50 percent worldwide.

C5 sees exciting opportunity in the digital transformation of Africa. We invest in African technology entrepreneurs in several ways:


  1. C5 Accelerate, our startup platform, scales startups from across Africa in our two accelerators in Washington and Bahrain. Examples of successful African startups on our platform include:

Anona, a blockchain base startup that connects East African farmers directly to the food retailers in Europe and the US; Dropque, a talent platform from Nigeria that helps young people to find employment; Superfluid Labs, an AI startup from Ghana that helps African businesses utilise the power of AI to increase profitability.


  1. The C5 Peregrine Partners Fund, a late stage investment fund, specifically invest in partnering with fast growing cloud-based technology companies to invest and grow in Africa and the Middle East. ParcelNinja, a cloud-based warehousing company in South Africa is a good example.


  1. C5 Cyber Partners I and II Funds cybersecurity portfolio companies support their clients with products and services in the African markets. A good example is the ITC Secure that provides cybersecurity advice to International Development Partners and its portfolio companies.


  1. C5 runs a global innovation challenge in anti-corruption called Shield in the Cloud. In the 2017 challenge we awarded the prize for the most innovative startup to Ushahidi, a Kenyan startup that promotes transparency.


Africa has an opportunity to leapfrog by leveraging cloud infrastructure in a similar way to the mobile phone revolution that started in the nineties. From 1998 to 2017 the SIM card population in Africa grew from 4M to more than 731M SIM card users. This transformed every aspect of business across Africa and added 2-3 percent of economic growth as mobile phone penetration increased exponentially.

As a result, today Africa is the most advanced economy in mobile money in the world. President Ramaphosa of South Africa recently presented the visionary idea of building on this vibrant mobile money economy to leapfrog to a continental digital currency. Such a bold move can further help to grow inter-African trade, stimulate economic growth and provide transformative poverty alleviation.  In a similar way, only the digital economy holds the promise of scaling access to education for Africa’s young people.

The World Bank this year recognised this strategic opportunity with its investment initiative focused on growing the digital economy in Africa.

It is possible that Africa’s KINGS- Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa- can help drive the growth of the digital economy across the continent. These 5 economies have the following attributes in common – underwater sea cable connectivity, emerging ecosystem, startup hubs with a focus on consumer and fintech, leadership that champions the growth of the digital economy and good policy.

Venture capital has a critical role to play. Venture is the life blood of the digital economy. Africa lags behind global VC funding. Global VC investment last year totalled USD 167 billion and Africa’s share was a very modest 250M.



We have, in the past few weeks seen the dramatic headlines of several high-profile hacks in South Africa. This is, however, not a challenge peculiar to Africa. More than a billion individuals had their personal information compromised in 2017. In every minute on the internet, there are at least two worldwide hacking incidents.

It is a common global challenge to secure the new digital world we are creating for our children.

An investor in African assets however faces several significant cybersecurity challenges:

  1. Transnational crime. The displacement of the narcotics trade from Latin America and Asia to Africa as the principal smuggling route to Europe and the US continues to distort African markets. In the wake of the narcotics trade have come several other areas of criminal activity including sophisticated cyber criminals.
  2. A lack of local and regional service providers. Worldwide there are more than 22,000 cybersecurity service and product companies but less than 10 percent has a presence in Africa. The ones who do often provide legacy products rather than being at the cutting edge. Africa needs more local cybersecurity entrepreneurs.
  3. Good cybersecurity is dependent on good policy. Although the Africa Union has drafted a comprehensive cybersecurity convention, only Senegal to date has implemented the convention. The majority of countries have no cybersecurity laws or regulations.
  4. Lack of state infrastructure. Cybersecurity requires a public and private partnership. With the majority of African governments lacking trained staff and national capabilities, the private sector may have to make a bigger contribution initially to help kick start national capacity building on scale. In terms of international law enforcement partnership this may well become an area of training as important as counter terrorism going forward.

In conclusion, we all need to contribute to help ensure the opportunity of the digital economy in Africa continues to outpace the risks of cybersecurity. This responsibility lies at all levels- the individual, the enterprise, the state and the AU. Only a collective effort will enable Africa to have the full fruits of its digital economy’s promise.

Andre Pienaar

London June 2018

CMEC Special Briefing with Derek Maltz: Drugs, international terrorism, and Hezbollah

Derek Maltz was Special Agent and former chief of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency – a component of the U.S. Department of Justice – from 2005-2014.

Mr Maltz has extensive experience in tackling transnational organized crime. From 2008 he led Project Cassandra – an ambitious U.S. led law enforcement campaign to target drug trafficking by Hezbollah. His expertise has been widely relied on by the US Congress.

During an exclusive CMEC event in the Houses of Parliament, Maltz spoke in detail about the large transnational networks and often local characters which help fuel the illegal drug industry and redirect funds towards terrorist networks elsewhere in the world.

Later, speaking to Conservative Middle East Council Director Charlotte Leslie, Maltz emphasied how this new evidence presents a challenge to law enforcement agents and policy makers around the globe and helps expose the extent to which recreational drug use, in Europe more often than not, inadvertently helps fund global atrocities.

Watch the 1 minute interview with CMEC Director Charlotte Leslie below:

André Pienaar at the USIP Africa Conference

September, 2017

Panel: Prospects for Enhanced Economic Partnerships


  • Jennifer Cooke, Director, Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies


  • André Pienaar, Founder and Chairman, C5 Capital Ltd.
  • Oren Whyche-Shaw, Acting Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, USAID

Africa’s economic outlook is promising, but there are significant hurdles to be overcome. Three important factors influencing Africa’s economic outlook are the decline in global commodity prices, political uncertainty in several key countries, and rapid
population growth.

Declining Commodity Prices

The initial euphoria associated with high commodity prices that benefited many mineral-rich African countries has subsided, once again highlighting the importance of economic diversification to avoid over-dependence on commodity exports.

Political Uncertainty

Whereas several African countries were once considered promising targets for investment, political uncertainty in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and even Tanzania has caused some investors to pause and reevaluate their prospects. The enduring challenges associated with corruption, illicit markets, and state capture continue to undermine healthy economic development. In some cases, countries like Mauritius and Rwanda have created an economic environment that is attractive to investors, despite their questionable political systems, demonstrating that autocratic government and economic development are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Population Growth

Between 2015 and 2030 there will be 29 million new entrants into the African labor market. Yet as it currently stands, the African job market will not produce enough opportunities for employment. This “tsunami” represents an important threat to stability. High unemployment exacerbated by a looming youth bulge may cause some to resort to criminality to provide their livelihoods.

Current U.S.-Africa Partnerships

The economic relationships between the United States and the countries of sub- Saharan Africa have, since 2000, revolved mainly around the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. AGOA, which provides trade preferences for quota and duty- free entry into the United States for certain goods, was designed to transform eligible African countries into more market-based economies. It has been criticized, however, for facilitating the exports of African oil and minerals while neglecting other economic sectors.

Power Africa, another popular U.S. government–led initiative, began in 2013 and seeks to add more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections by 2030. Through this initiative, the U.S. provides a range of tools—financial, legal, advocacy—and private investors to the African public and private sectors to facilitate the delivery of power to millions of Africans. Some argue that Power Africa has the potential to be more transformative for African economies than AGOA.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the success of these important initiatives, the U.S. government and American private sector have not yet taken advantage of the full range of economic opportunities that exist in sub-Saharan Africa. In comparison, China has increased its foreign investment in Africa substantially in recent years. It has focused almost exclusively, however, on extractive industries and the construction of infrastructure, enabling the acceleration of the extraction and transportation of natural resources to China. Despite China’s massive investments in infrastructure, the infrastructure gap in Africa remains significant, representing a very lucrative opportunity for U.S. companies.

Natural resource and infrastructure sectors aside, Africa also offers opportunities for high-technology firms to find markets in Africa. The United States is currently the global leader in cloud computing. The leading company (Amazon Web Services) is 10 times larger than the next 14 competitors combined. If “data is the oil of the 21st century,” then cloud computing has the potential to truly transform the business sector by reducing startup and operating costs tremendously, thus offering opportunities for entrepreneurship that were previously cost-prohibitive. With the ability to access big data analytics based in the cloud, applications such as early warning systems, online education, and online banking have emerged as affordable and feasible opportunities for tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

The United States can also help African countries build their venture capital sectors. Today, there are many impediments to building thriving venture capital sectors, the most significant of which is high capital costs. Limited capacity in the regulatory sector to develop an ecosystem that is attractive to venture capitalists and stimulate the digital economy is also a challenge. This offers an opportunity for U.S. regulatory experts to transfer their knowledge to African partners, who could then build regulatory environments that appeal to venture capitalists.

Finally, investing in education to overcome the current skills gap would be hugely beneficial for both Africa and the United States. First, transferring skills to Africa’s youth could help alleviate Africa’s unemployment problem by suppling qualified entrants to the labor market. Transferring skills to Africa’s youth would also increase the pool of qualified workers to support American companies doing business on the continent. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have made great strides in this area by investing millions in the Nigerian company Andela, which trains and deploys software coders in Africa. Imparting this skill not only provides Africans with a prospect for a better future, but it creates a skilled workforce in Africa capable of supporting high-tech foreign companies.

Looking Ahead

The African continent has the potential to be an economic success story if it can capitalize on its massive (and rapidly growing) pool of human resources and create a

climate conducive to investment. The United States could help by working with African partner governments to improve regulatory environments and carry out economic reforms that support competitiveness. Through commercial diplomacy offices, U.S. embassies could provide critical support to U.S. companies looking to invest in Africa, but requiring assistance navigating the complicated regulatory structures. Cultivating transatlantic business relationships is also an important aspect of this partnership; current delays in visa processing for Africans wishing to travel to the United States for the purpose of business development are impediments.

Full event document is available from the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)

André Pienaar at the Shield in the Cloud Awards Gala 2018

C5, the investment specialist firm focused on cyber security, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, has announced the winners of its inaugural Shield in the Cloud competition. The challenge, supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), PeaceTech Lab, and SAP NS2, was created to bring together the best and brightest minds working in anti-corruption technology.

The awards gala was held at C5’s PeaceTech Accelerator in Washington D.C. General Keith Alexander, founder of the United States Cyber Command, former Commander of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and current Chief Executive Officer of IronNet Cybersecurity gave the keynote speech. The General spoke about the work being done by the NSA to combat corruption, both at home in the US, and internationally.

Also speaking at the event was André Pienaar, Founder of C5 Capital, who drew attention to the work of C5’s PeaceTech Accelerator. In his speech, André spoke about the concept behind peace technology. Explaining how the advent of cloud computing has brought about an era in which computing infrastructure can be used for everyone’s benefit, with PeaceTech being the purposeful application of the innovation that cloud computing enables. You can find a full transcript of André Pienaar’s speech here.

Speakers at the event awarded prizes in three categories: Dream Big, Not for Profit and Government.

The winners were:

  1. Dream Big – Donor: Mark Lab
  2. Dream Big – Local Community: MyndGenie
  3. Dream Big – Global Trade: Pole Star – PurpleTRAC
  4. Not for Profit: Ushahidi
  5. Government: Transparency International Ukraine – ProZorro.Sale

The Special Operations Division (SOD) of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Citibank also received special recognition awards. The DEA were recognised for building an innovative model to combat the linkage between corruption, narcotics and terrorist finance, and Citibank for their support of global technology innovation through their Tech4Integrity programme.

Speaking about the event, André Pienaar said, “Shield in the Cloud is the first global innovation challenge to combat corruption and terrorist financing worldwide. The public cloud provides unprecedented opportunity to innovate, scale and strengthen good governance, everywhere. We were delighted to see the scale and pace of innovation in so many innovative applicants in the challenge. We were honoured to meet so many leaders and entrepreneurs who are determined to fight organised crime, terrorist finance and corruption to protect their countries and communities, often against the odds.”

A total of 61 organisations connected with the challenge. A panel of expert judges then created a shortlist of 24 before selecting the winners. The full shortlist can be seen here.

Prize winners will receive AWS cloud credits and the option of taking a place at C5’s PeaceTech Accelerator in Washington D.C. to further develop their products under the guidance of C5, AWS, SAP NS2 and PeaceTech Lab mentors.

Remarks at the Shield in the Cloud gala dinner at the US Institute of Peace, Washington DC, 27 February 2018

It gives me great pleasure to welcome so many friends and partners of the Peacetech Accelerator to our awards dinner for the Shield in the Cloud global anti-corruption challenge.

Why did C5, a specialist venture capital firm; Amazon, the world’s leading cloud computing company; SAP NS2, the world’s largest software company; the Peacetech Lab; and the US Institute for Peace partner to launch the first global anti- corruption innovation challenge?

I want to share four reasons tonight by addressing following questions-

What is peacetech?

Why are innovation and corruption two diametrically opposing forces?

Why does collective security matters?

Why is corruption corrosive to our national security?

  1. What is Peacetech? And why did we call this challenge Shield in the Cloud?

I had the privilege of growing up in the arid beauty of the Karoo desert in South Africa. In the Karoo, when you see a cloud, it is good news, because it carries the promise of rain that transforms the desert into the bloom of the brilliant colours of many flowers.

Similarly, cloud computing today is transforming our world with unprecedented opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.

What is cloud? Cloud is taking the computing power we have come to know first on our personal computers and on premise servers, and industrializing its capacity with computing infrastructure on a global scale for everyone’s benefit. Amazon pioneered this by investing billions of dollars to build multiple industrial size computing centres around the world, and networking them cost effectively with high speed fibre optic cables. This means that we need less capital and less infrastructure to grow organizations. We can displace capital with technology to build, scale and innovate globally on an unprecedented scale.

Cloud computing is an integral part of the U.S.’ leadership of the global economy and the free world today. The U.S. not only created cloud computing, but continues to lead and innovate cloud. The first fifteen cloud computing companies in the world today are all American. Cloud computing’s power to scale innovation, to reduce the cost of computing, and to increase its accessibility to everyone is increasingly one of the drivers of growth in the global economy.

Cloud will become as important to the stability of the global economy as the U.S. dollar is as our global reserve currency.

How does PeaceTech fit into cloud?

At C5, as investors, we have to look for the far horizons. Since we are the custodians not only of our own money, but also that of others, we have to think like stewards. This is why Peacetech matters to us at C5.

Peacetech is the purposeful application of the innovation that cloud computing enables for good and not for evil.

Peacetech is the strategic application of cloud-enabled innovation to sustain national and international security gains, build a strong peace and secure our children’s future.

It is this unprecedented opportunity that led us to launch the first global anti-corruption challenge to focus on a pillar of strong peace- combatting corruption. A strong and lasting peace in post conflict countries is not possible without good governance.

  1. Why are Innovation and Corruption Two Opposing Forces?

In our experience as venture capital investors in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, corruption and innovation are opposing forces. Where one is present, the other is invariably absent. Innovation thrives on good governance. On the other hand, the destructive economics of corruption kill innovation and opportunity. It wastes the talent of entire generations. In leading this challenge we want to strengthen the virtuous cycle between good governance, innovation and opportunity, which the entrepreneurs with whom we partner as investors need to thrive.

  1. Why is Collective Security the Best Security Model for the 21st Century?

One of the purposes of the global challenge is to find and support the leaders who are innovators in the fight against corruption and its causes.

As General Keith Alexander says, “In a networked world, collective security is the best security model.”

Fighting organised corruption is one of the loneliest tasks. Invariably, perpetrators seek to isolate, target, and diminish those working towards the greater good. The same perpetrators often have reach, hiring lawyers, investigators and public relations advisers of their own. The bigger the syndicate, the further their influence extends.

With the Shield in the Cloud global challenge, we want to connect organizations fighting corruption to build collective security. We also want to accelerate the pace of anti-corruption innovation by sharing best practices across this network.

It is our great privilege to have several leaders and innovators with us present here tonight who are helping to build good governance and combat corruption from around the world.

In expressing our gratitude to these leaders tonight, we are also expressing our gratitude and appreciation to everyone involved in fighting for this great cause, as well as those who are not with us tonight. We are honouring them for their courage even in their absence.

  1. Why is Corruption Corrosive the National Security?

Finally, in leading this challenge we want to highlight the threat of corruption.

No one can ever be complacent about corruption. As Solzhenitsyn wrote, “the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either- but right through every human heart.”

As Admiral Mike Mullen says, “corruption is corrosive to national and international security.”

Increasingly it is a damaging effluence from the toxic stream of illegal narcotics that is flooding global trade routes to poison our nations. These same illicit global trading routes and networks that carry heroin, cocaine and opioids across them, carry multiple threats, ranging from human trafficking to terrorist finance.

These same illicit trading networks are exploited by state actors like North Korea to destabilize national and regional security. They increasingly form part of the lines of attack that adversaries are pursuing against our nations, while camouflaging their deadly hostile intent in a twilight between war and peace.

This clear and present danger and the complexity of its threat require new tools and models to combat it.

A vivid illustration of this phenomenon is the largest heroin case in history, which the US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Agency are prosecuting in the Southern District Court of New York right now against an East African syndicate. This case involves a group called the Akasha brothers which attempted to smuggle 99kg of heroin into the US. The heroin was sourced from the Taliban in Afghanistan by a drug lord based in the UK posing as a legitimate Gulf-based businessman. The heroin supply was clandestinely transported from Afghanistan through Pakistan, and concealed in oil tankers to East Africa for onward shipment to the US and Europe. The syndicate used modern technology to evade detection including Skype and encrypted USB sticks. Along the way, its drug trade and money laundering helped to fuel conflicts in multiple countries in different ways- from the Taliban in Afghanistan, terrorist organizations in Pakistan, ethnic violence in Kenya, to state capture in South Africa.

The syndicate was too big for a single state to combat. It required a law enforcement alliance using new tools and methods. Only the innovation and persistence of the Special Operations Division (SOD) of the DEA brought them to justice in the US. This case is a vivid illustration of why we are honouring the SOD for bold leadership in the fight against corruption.

In conclusion, Vice President Biden said, “fighting corruption is not just about good governance. It is patriotism, it is self defence.”

In honouring these leaders tonight we ask you to join us in this challenge and invest alongside us in the future to innovate the fight against corruption.