Africa Becoming The New Global Drug Hub
The African Union Commission (AUC) has said
some countries in West Africa and East Africa
have emerged as new convenient transit
points for syndicates using container ships or
small boats to smuggle narcotics from Latin
America or Central Asia to consumer markets.
Olawale Maiyegun, director of social affairs
department of the AUC, while opening a
regional workshop on drug control in Harare,
said Africa is dealing with vast porous
boarders and coastlines, fragile and post
conflict states, weak criminal justice systems,
corruption, among other social challenges that
made the continent vulnerable to drug
According to United Nations Office of Drugs
and Crime (UNODC), seizures of heroin in the
past few years were particularly high in
Nigeria, Benin, Togo on the western African
coast and Tanzania on the eastern coast.
The UN office said in East Africa the seizures
increased almost 10-fold since 2009.
Mr Maiyegun said coping with the threats of
drug trafficking is difficult even for the most
developed and stable countries and Africa now
needs robust responses to counter the
Mr Maiyegun said the continental body did not
know the exact quantities of drugs passing
through Africa as information of drug seizures
across the continent remains fragmented.
"We are trying to estimate the extent of the
problem but what we know is that without an
exaggeration," Maiyegun said.
The UNODC also acknowledged in its 2013
report that while it is clear that the African
continent is becoming increasingly important
and vulnerable in terms of the proliferation of
trafficking routes, the availability of data is
It said maritime trafficking, which usually
involves larger seizures than road or rail
trafficking, poses a particularly knotty
challenge for the authorities.