Africa’s high cocaine production worries UN
Africa’s contribution to global cocaine production has risen to record levels, posing concern to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.
In a new report, the UN body said that demand for cocaine increased due to Covid lockdowns. It also said coca cultivation, from which powdery cocaine is produced, rose by 35% between 2021 and 2022 to record levels.
Findings suggest new hubs for trafficking have emerged in West and Central Africa, the report said.
The report also said traffickers were using international postal services more often to get drugs to consumers.
Europe and North America are the largest markets for cocaine, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean.
The report expressed fear that likely expansion of Africa drug market, though currently limited, is “a dangerous reality.”
The report says: “Seizure data suggest that the role of Africa, especially West and Central Africa, as a transit zone for cocaine on its way to markets in Europe has picked up substantially since 2019.
“Both the total quantity seized in Africa and the number of large seizures appear to have reached record levels during 2021.”
The report says the outbreak of Covid-19 had a “disruptive” effect on drug markets as international travel was severely curtailed.
Demand for cocaine slumped as night clubs and bars were shut during the pandemic lockdowns.
“However, the most recent data suggests this slump has had little impact on longer-term trends,” the report says. “The global supply of cocaine is at record levels.”
In the UK, the report says there has been a “significant increase” in seizures of cocaine in the “fast parcel and postal modes”.
Interceptions by law enforcement have also been on the rise – at a higher speed than production, the report outlines.