According to the International Narcotics Control Board, stockpiles of cocaine are being built up in West Africa from where it is smuggled into Europe, either directly or via the Balkans. The Balkans traditionally used to smuggle heroin from Afghanistan and Central Asia into western Europe but are now increasingly being used as a supply line from Africa who receive from south America.
Observers and experts have said that the smugglers are targeting countries with weak governmental structures that have limited capacity to defend themselves against drug trafficking and its consequences, such as corruption and drug abuse.
Colombia, Peru and Bolivia which are south America’s main producers of cocaine are switching their smuggling routes from the Caribbean and the North Atlantic to West Africa in order to avoid US and British naval patrols.
The UN anti-drugs agency has now described Africa as a major hub for South American cocaine smuggling. International Narcotics Control Board President, Hamid Ghodse said more needed to be done to intercept shipments of cocaine and other drugs. “The route of transporting for traffickers has become relatively easier and less susceptible to interdiction,” he said.
Governance in the sahel region, which has become an important route, could be compromised as the spread of trafficking “poses a serious threat to stability and development” indicated the report.
The fears that this development raises is that: The more drug suppliers there are, the cheaper the price of cocaine thus increasing affordability which in turn could provoke an increase in its usage.
Confirming this trend, UK officials said last week that the price of cocaine had fallen by half in the last 10 years. The International Narcotics Control Board have also said that prices will continue to fall unless supply is curtailed.