top of page
SA Landraces with Cannabis Plants. and species-min.png

CANNABIS INDUSTRY 

BREAKING  NEWS

UN: Cannabis Resin Bound for Europe is the Most Trafficked Drug in the West African Sahel .

UN: Cannabis Resin Bound for Europe is the Most Trafficked Drug in the West African Sahel .

A UN report says Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger are a “natural stopover point” for drug trafficking between South America and Europe, but authorities are beginning to take down the criminal networks involved.

United Nations News

6 May 2024 at 07:00:00

This report from UN News, published on 5 May 2024.


Cocaine, cannabis and opioids are getting easier to buy as criminal networks and armed groups capitalise on the fragile Sahel region's "natural stopover point" to Europe on trafficking routes from South America. However, authorities with help from the UN, are taking down criminal networks and making a record number of seizures of illicit drugs.


According to a new report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug trafficking in the Sahel continues to hinder security, economic development and the rule of law while jeopardising public health.


"Drug trafficking is well-established in the Sahel region - with detrimental consequences both locally and globally," said Amado Philip de Andres, who heads the agency's West and Central Africa regional office.


"Increased drug flows to West Africa and the Sahel undermine peace and stability in the region," he said. "This is not only a security issue as armed groups are deriving revenue to finance their operations, it is also a public health issue as criminal groups tap into population growth to expand illicit drug markets."


Large-scale trafficking


In some Sahelian countries - Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger - cannabis resin remains the internationally trafficked drug most commonly seized, followed by cocaine and pharmaceutical opioids.


Indeed, seizures of cocaine skyrocketed in the Sahel in 2022, from an average of 13 kg per year seized between 2015 and 2020 to 1,466 kg in 2022. UNODC assessments said this suggests the presence of large-scale cocaine trafficking through the region.


Although annual estimates were not available for 2023, by mid-year, 2.3 tons of cocaine had already been seized in Mauritania, according to the agency.


The region's geographical location makes it a "natural stopover point" for the increasing amount of cocaine produced in South America en route to Europe, which has seen a similar rise in demand for the drug, the new report found.


'Vicious cycle' links trafficking and instability


The drug economy and instability in the Sahel are linked through a "vicious cycle", the report noted, in which the weak rule of law is facilitating the expansion of the drug economy. That can, in turn, provide financial resources for maintaining or expanding conflicts, which then continue to weaken the rule of law.


The new report found that drug trafficking continues to provide financial resources to armed groups in the region, including Plateforme des mouvements du 14 juin 2014 d'Alger (Plateforme) in Algeria and Coordination des Mouvements de l'Azawad (CMA) in Mali, enabling them to sustain their involvement in conflict, notably through the purchase of weapons.


Meanwhile, traffickers are using money-laundering to disguise their illicit proceeds in a growing number of sectors, from gold to real estate. That makes financial transactions more difficult to track while giving traffickers greater economic leverage and "a veneer of legitimacy", the report found.


Corruption enables traffickers


Corruption and money laundering are "major enablers" of drug trafficking, according to the report.

Recent seizures, arrests, and detentions in the Sahel region reveal how drug trafficking is facilitated by a wide range of individuals, which can include members of the political elite, community leaders and heads of armed groups.

Traffickers have used their income to penetrate different layers of the State, allowing them to effectively avoid prosecution, according to UNODC.


The report also highlighted overwhelming evidence of the continued involvement of armed groups in drug trafficking in the region, and found that terrorist organisation affiliates are likely to benefit indirectly through exacting zakat, a form of wealth tax, from traffickers and taxing convoys that cross areas under their control.


Terrorist groups and organised crime


Combatting terrorist groups operating in the Sahel was in the spotlight at the recent High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting, held in Abuja, Nigeria, in late April. Among concerns raised by Heads of State across the region were the increasing links between terrorism and organised crime.


Speaking at the meeting, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed described the situation in Africa, particularly in the Sahel, as dire, noting that the region now accounts for almost half of all deaths from terrorism globally.


"A major factor that has fuelled the rise in insurgency in the Sahel is organised crime, particularly the proliferation and smuggling of firearms across our porous borders," she said. "The availability of weapons empowers terrorist groups, often better equipped with the latest technology."


Da'esh, Al-Qaida heading south


At the gathering, UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov warned that Da'esh, Al-Qaida and their affiliates have made some significant gains in the Sahel and are moving southward to the Gulf of Guinea.


"We recognise that no single actor can resolve today's threats to peace and security alone," he said. "Instead, we need multiple actors working together, with solutions grounded in strong national ownership and supported by funding partners."


A "step change" in commitments to address those complex challenges came with the launch of the UN Joint Appeal for Counter-Terrorism in Africa, he said, bringing together 16 UN entities in support of 10 new multipartner initiatives across the continent to tackle such critical areas as border management and countering terrorism travel on the continent and the nexus between terrorism and organised crime.


Wake-up call


Meanwhile, local and regional actors continue to join forces to combat the illegal drug trade in the Sahel, according to UNODC.


The agency's new report should serve as a "wake-up call", said Leonardo Santos Simão, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel.


"States in the Sahel region - along with the international community - must take urgent, coordinated and comprehensive action to dismantle drug trafficking networks and give the people in these countries the future they deserve," he said.

#

A year on, the Presidency's ambitious cannabis plans are yet to materialize

The Phakisa 'Non-Action' Cannabis Plan! The Presidency’s Bold Initiative Appears to Have Fizzled Out

A year on, the Presidency's ambitious cannabis plans are yet to materialize

Grain sector expresses interest in cannabis sector but is standing on the sidelines until the right laws are enacted.

Mealie Farmers: “The Cannabis Thing – We Are Watching With Interest’: Biggest Challenge is the Legal Framework”

Grain sector expresses interest in cannabis sector but is standing on the sidelines until the right laws are enacted.

Cannabis Bill one of 27 pieces of impending legislation sitting on the President's des.

Time Fast Running Out For Pres Ramaphosa to Sign. Cannabis Bill into Law Before May 29 Elections.

Cannabis Bill one of 27 pieces of impending legislation sitting on the President's des.

5.cannabiz-africa Hemp -min.png

Cannabis in South Africa: The People’s Plant

We are a civil society organisation with the interests of the existing Cannabis industry and the Human Rights of ALL citizens at heart.

WE’RE BRINGING A NEW STANDARD

We are more than just a cannabis retail company. We are about a lifestyle that promotes vitality, balance & good health.

Resources & Equipment

Explore cannabis growing equipment for growing weed at home. 

Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to enhance your outdoor or indoor weed grow setup – we have the perfect range of cannabis growing equipment to match your marijuana growing ambitions. 

Find everything from LED grow lights, grow tents, fans, and hydroponic setups, to environmental equipment and controls, harvesting accessories, extraction equipment and plenty more. 

Design your ideal cannabis growing setup with high quality growing equipment available in South Africa. 

Explore cannabis growing equipment we’ve curated from reliable online suppliers in South Africa

bottom of page