What is affecting political stability in West Africa?

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The drug trade continues to grow in West Africa, with an average of 14.2 tons of cocaine seized annually between 2019 and 2022, compared to 5.5 tons in 2007 alone. Latin American cartels, a major source of corruption, are ubiquitous.

Knowing that you need it Multiply by 20 Since 2019, 1,140 tons of cocaine have passed through West Africa in transit. That’s a market value of €57 billion, sold for €50 per gram in European cities. In other words, annual cocaine trafficking over the past four years has been half of Senegal’s GDP, almost all of Niger’s and Guinea’s GDP, and nearly ten times that of Guinea-Bissau.

This Portuguese-speaking state has become a textbook example of a country suffering from narcos. Despite the efforts of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS), still a front door wide open For cocaine produced in Latin America. Its consequences have a direct impact on the country’s political stability. On February 1, 2022, the government palace where the Cabinet of Ministers was held was raided. The coup attempt It killed 11 people and was condemned by President Umaro Sissoco Embalo as being linked to drug trafficking.

The main activity of the military elite in Bissau »

Rather? There is a president accused three people, including former Navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto, who was arrested by the US Drug Enforcement Agency in 2013 (Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA), considers him a drug kingpin. He was arrested again in Bissau. while a Canadian university education of Usherbrooke claims to have become a drug addict” the main economic activity of the country’s military elite Detractors of the head of state, who is himself a former general, point out that he is close to Antonio Indjai, the author of the so-called “cocaine” coup in 2012. The coup allowed officers to oust civilian Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who had tried to detain them in order to restore traffic control.

Today, seized drugs evaporate in large quantities. Seven suspects, three Colombians, one Mexican, one Malian and seven Bissau-Guineans, appeared in court in Bissau last February after 980kg of cocaine was seized. From this sum, 975 kg was lost to nature purely and simply, Judicial police director Domingos Monteiro explained. Those who seized it are believed to be elements of the security and defense forces “.

Drug terrorism in Mali

Guinea-Bissau is just a stage on the road to the cartels. In 2008 UNODC reported on this it’s already ” Most of the cocaine from South America goes to northern Guinea-Bissau and southern Ghana by boat. “, before being shipped by air to France, Spain and the UK on commercial flights, through “Mules” or smugglers from Guinea Conakry, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal are ready to swallow the cocaine pellets. Contraband also goes up by road through Mali, Niger and Libya, before crossing the Mediterranean by boat.

Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Benin… Human trafficking spare parts no more West African coastal countries, Contrary to the polarization on the Mali issue, it can convince people. The West African Commission on Drugs (WACD), established by Kofi Annan in 2013, believes that it “ Exaggerating the threat of drug terrorism is dangerous “, of course, with the participation of Islamist armed groups that take the rights of way, but also “ members of the political and business communities of northern Mali “.

Very large sums in the hands of political actors »

But Bamako? Traffic grew in the 2000s during the presidency of Amadou Toumani Toure (ATT), as evidenced by the nickname “Air Cocaine” given to the remains of a Boeing 727 found in the middle of the desert in 2009. The plane, rented in Venezuela, flew between Colombia and Mali under the license of Guinea-Bissau. The WikiLeaks disclosures In 2011, he reported that, like the drug brigade in Mali, civil aviation was excluded from the investigation by the executive branch, which refused to share its information with UNODC, the UN drug and crime agency.

UNODC no longer provides country-by-country detail in its reports because it is difficult to get a clear picture of the political implications of the current transport situation. West Africa Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA), WADC reportnotes for his part ” huge sums of money in the hands of important political actors without naming names. A WADC member quotes Deutsche Welle claims to have documented evidence of the involvement of politicians in the sub-region. There are even those who finance election campaigns with this money “.

Elevation of white powder

Cape Verde does not let him go. It stands as a fairly isolated counterexample to the ubiquitous anti-narcotics war since the 2000s. Record catches (16.6 tons between 2019 and 2022) were recorded in this stable, sparsely populated Portuguese-speaking archipelago. to democratic alternatives. They show both the high level of human trafficking and the political will mobilized to prevent it.

This does not prevent money laundering with a vengeance and the increased flow of white powder from fueling local consumption, as in Conakry, Abidjan or Dakar. Omerta dominates Cape Verde, a rare voice that finds itself repressed. ” In 2014, the mother of a drug investigator was killed, and a few months later, the prime minister’s son was injured in a shooting. “, highlighted Mouhamadou Kane, project consultant-researcher Strengthening Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime (ENACT) in Dakar.

The authorities in Praia are nevertheless determined. In 2018, a five-year plan to fight organized crime was launched with the support of Portugal, the United States and France. The only problem: it requires about 6 million euros in funding, which is hard to come by. This amount (0.01% of the market value of the volume of cocaine transiting West Africa) reflects the effective disparity of means between cartels and states.

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