News / Africa

Methamphetamine 'Growing Concern' for West Africa

A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) warns that the production of methamphetamine is a "growing concern" for West Africa.  The report, which addresses many forms of transnational crime in the region, also suggests that recent gains in the fight against cocaine trafficking may have been overstated.  

Much of the methamphetamine produced in West Africa is headed for East Asia, though South Africa is a major secondary market.  Two methamphetamine laboratories were detected in Nigeria in 2011 and 2012.

The report says that while the flow of methamphetamine out of West Africa is relatively new, the income it generates is “remarkably high.”

Pierre Lapaque, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime representative for West and Central Africa, says methamphetamine is attractive to West African drug producers because it is so easy to make.  

“It’s easy to prepare," he said. "You can do that in your kitchen, if you wish.  You go on the Internet, you get the recipe and you cook.  As long as you have the good ingredients you can cook it easily.”

West Africa has long been a notorious hub for cocaine trafficking. Because of its location and weak law enforcement institutions, the region is a convenient stopping point for cocaine produced in South America and intended for sale in Europe.

The trafficking has further weakened state institutions in some countries, and the U.N. report says "cocaine-related corruption has clearly undermined governance in places like Guinea Bissau."

The new report notes that the flow of cocaine in West Africa peaked in 2007 at 47 tons, but decreased to 18 tons by 2010 in response to efforts to combat maritime and air shipments.  However, the report also says that there is debate about whether the flow of cocaine has actually decreased, or whether “traffickers have simply found less detectable ways of moving the drug.”

Lapaque said that data has been limited since 2010, but that officials believe the trafficking of cocaine is now back up to between 30 and 35 tons.

“The problem is that the region is still facing the same problems - the problem of governance, the problem of rule of law, the problem of corruption," Lapaque said. "Things have improved, but they haven’t dramatically improved, so there is room for improvement.”  

He said it was important to target the traffickers rather than particular types of shipments.  He said this was because criminal networks are often involved in many different forms of illegal shipments - from drugs to arms to illegal migrants.  

"If for example you open a container here, you open one ton of cocaine," Lapaque said. "That’s brilliant - you have stopped one ton of cocaine. But if 20 tons are going through another channel and you haven’t dismantled the criminal network that was actually sending this one ton of cocaine, you are just digging in the sea. You finish the day exhausted, and at the end of the day you haven’t achieved anything."

The release of the report Monday was timed to coincide with a meeting of the Mediation and Security Council of the West African regional body ECOWAS. A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) warns that the production of methamphetamine is a "growing concern" for West Africa.  The report, which addresses many forms of transnational crime in the region, also suggests that recent gains in the fight against cocaine trafficking may have been overstated.  

Much of the methamphetamine produced in West Africa is headed for East Asia, though South Africa is a major secondary market.  Two methamphetamine laboratories were detected in Nigeria in 2011 and 2012.

The report says that while the flow of methamphetamine out of West Africa is relatively new, the income it generates is “remarkably high.”

Pierre Lapaque, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime representative for West and Central Africa, says methamphetamine is attractive to West African drug producers because it is so easy to make.  

“It’s easy to prepare," he said. "You can do that in your kitchen, if you wish.  You go on the Internet, you get the recipe and you cook.  As long as you have the good ingredients you can cook it easily.”

West Africa has long been a notorious hub for cocaine trafficking.  Because of its location and weak law enforcement institutions, the region is a convenient stopping point for cocaine produced in South America and intended for sale in Europe.

The trafficking has further weakened state institutions in some countries, and the U.N. report says "cocaine-related corruption has clearly undermined governance in places like Guinea Bissau."

The new report notes that the flow of cocaine in West Africa peaked in 2007 at 47 tons, but decreased to 18 tons by 2010 in response to efforts to combat maritime and air shipments.  However, the report also says that there is debate about whether the flow of cocaine has actually decreased, or whether “traffickers have simply found less detectable ways of moving the drug.”

Lapaque said that data has been limited since 2010, but that officials believe the trafficking of cocaine is now back up to between 30 and 35 tons.

“The problem is that the region is still facing the same problems - the problem of governance, the problem of rule of law, the problem of corruption," Lapaque said. "Things have improved, but they haven’t dramatically improved, so there is room for improvement.”  

He said it was important to target the traffickers rather than particular types of shipments.  He said this was because criminal networks are often involved in many different forms of illegal shipments - from drugs to arms to illegal migrants.  

"If for example you open a container here, you open one ton of cocaine," Lapaque said. "That’s brilliant - you have stopped one ton of cocaine. But if 20 tons are going through another channel and you haven’t dismantled the criminal network that was actually sending this one ton of cocaine, you are just digging in the sea. You finish the day exhausted, and at the end of the day you haven’t achieved anything."

The release of the report Monday was timed to coincide with a meeting of the Mediation and Security Council of the West African regional body ECOWAS.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: One Fly from: Costa Rica
February 26, 2013 5:15 AM
If it's "so easy" to make why don't they make it there. This is a terrible piece.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid