Ghana records largest cocaine seizures in Africa – Report

Ghana is said to have recorded the largest and highest cocaine seizures on the Africa continent, according to the 2011 World Drug Report.

Ghana was ahead of countries such as Sierra Leone, Togo, Nigeria and South Africa, all along the coast lines.

The report, prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), says Ghana’s seizure of cocaine in its territory was about 841 kilogrammes in 2008, the largest annual seizure in Africa.

“In 2008, the largest annual seizures of cocaine in Africa were by Ghana (841kg), Sierra Leone (703kg), Togo (393kg falling to 34kg in 2009), Nigeria (365kg rising to 392kg in 2009) and South Africa (156kg rising to 234kg in 2009)”, the report indicated.

The report says about 4.42 million Africans use cocaine annually with 2.3 million being in West and Central Africa. The ages of the cocaine consumers are between 15 to 65 years.

It said cocaine seizures remained limited in Africa, amounting to less than 1 metric tonne in 2009, down from 2.6 metric tonnes in 2008 and 5.5 metric tonnes in 2007.

Although this quantity is very small in comparison with the quantities likely to be trafficked in and via Africa, the report noted that seizure data from other regions also point to a decreasing trend for Africa, notably West Africa, for cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe.

West Africa still remains vulnerable for cocaine trafficking, the report notes.

“Nevertheless, cocaine trafficking in West Africa persisted, and Africa, especially West Africa, remained vulnerable to a resurgence” as the report says countries like “Ghana,  Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Togo were all mentioned as transit countries for cocaine trafficking in 2008 or 2009.”

The report also cited the World Customs Organization (WCO) as noting that a small number of methamphetamine  trafficking cases from southern Africa to East Asia in mid-2008 with no prior cases reported.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the USA methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine, and it is sold only on prescription.

But in the year 2009, both the number of seizures and their quantities of methamphetamine originating from Africa were more than triple, said the report.

“This trend appears to be growing and spreading…Cases of methamphetamine trafficking have emerged from various West African nations – Trafficking of methamphetamine originating in or transiting through Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal and in particular Nigeria have all been reported since 2009”, it emphasized.

By Ekow Quandzie

Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine.
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