Africa’s cannabis market estimated to be worth $7.1b by 2023 if legalized

While cannabis is widely used in African countries, it is largely illegal. A report however says if it is legalized, the potential market value of cannabis on the continent could be up to $7.1 billion annually by 2023.

The yet to be published report by an organization called Prohibition Partners which describes itself as provider of market insights and strategic consultancy in the cannabis sector includes detailed market value forecasts, regulatory timeline analysis, consumption data and healthcare analyses for nine key markets, including Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

“A regulated legal cannabis market could be transformative to patients, farmers and economies across Africa. From a financial standpoint, Africa could reap significant rewards through the legalisation of cannabis, with international demand offering a strong commercial opportunity for cannabis cultivation,” a Managing Director at Prohibition Partners, Daragh Anglim was quoted as saying in a press release copied to

“It is currently estimated that 38,000 tonnes of illegal cannabis is produced across Africa each year, with a market value of billions of dollars. This demonstrates the clear potential for an economic boom for African countries that actively seek to legalise and regulate their cannabis market,” Anglim says.

Among others, the following are the key findings of the report:

International demand offers a strong opportunity to unlock the potential value of Africa’s legally produced cannabis, which could be worth up to $7.1 billion annually by 2023; Annual prevalence rates of cannabis use in Africa (13.2 per cent) cement the region as having one of the highest consumption rates around the world; Africa is home to five of the world’s top 30 countries for cannabis prevalence among adult populations (aged 15-64) with over 76 million users.

The report also found that, the region has a long history of cannabis cultivation and many farmers have turned to illegal cannabis cultivation as the only means of subsistence since the decline in demand for other crops such as tobacco.

Assuming there is full legalisation and regulation of the cannabis industry, South Africa and Nigeria potentially represent the region’s two largest value medicinal cannabis markets going forward, worth $667 million to South Africa and $75 million to Nigeria by 2023, the report found.

It found further that should the law change, NGOs, charities and other donors who provide a significant proportion of the region’s healthcare supplies will be an essential partner in providing access to legal medicinal cannabis products due to the inaccessibility of healthcare services.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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