News24

Cocaine traffic growing in west Africa

2012-02-21 22:05

New York - The UN agency that fights drugs and crime estimates that cocaine trafficking in west and central Africa is generating some $900m annually in the region.

Yuri Fedotov, the agency's chief, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that South American drug cartels are moving cocaine to west Africa because it is the shortest and most cost-effective channel to Europe.

"We estimate that cocaine trafficking in west and central Africa generates some $900m annually," he said.

The cartels, he said, were exploiting poverty, a lack of border controls, weak law enforcement, and endemic corruption in west Africa.

He said illegal drug consumption is also growing fast in west and central Africa, where there are now up to 2.5 million drug users.