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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid