By Staff Reporter
September 5, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The volume of heroin being shipped from Afghanistan along a network of maritime routes in east and southern Africa appears to have increased considerably, a report has revealed. In its 2019 report, a group called Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crimes (ENACT) said Africa is experiencing the sharpest increase in illicit drug market. Heroin use and a spectrum of criminal networks and political elites in east and Southern Africa are substantially enmeshed in the trade.
According to the report, most of the heroine is destined for western markets, but there is a spin-off trade for local consumption.
“The increasing illegal drug use poses a formidable problem to governments both from law enforcement perspective and a public health standpoint, said Mark Shaw, Director, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime while explaining the report.
Most of the heroine that passes through east and South Africa is destined for markets in Europe, where they will be more profitable than the African markets.
The report noted that heron begins its journey in Afghanistan where farmers cultivate the poppy plant over hundreds of thousands of acres. The opium paste derived from the poppy seed is then transported to Pakistan, where it is refined into heroin.
The African drug networks have representatives in the Khyber Pakhtunahwa province of Pakistan, who are involved in moving heroin shipments to the Balochistan coast. There, the heroin is ferried by speed boats and loaded onto dhows, that normally come from Iran(where there is a fuel subsidy) or concealed in containers or in other boats. The heroine is then shipped to many locations along the African east coast. South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia serve as entry destinations to Africa, the report stated.
Currently, more than 10.3 million people in Africa reportedly use drugs, mainly cocaine, heroin, and cannabis. Nigeria is the most affected country where children as young as eight years old are victims.
The transit heroin trade is in bulk through shipments which are broken down in consignments to avoid detection. Much of the heroin transported this way is moved in units of tens or even hundreds of kilograms, Shaw said.
Cities with the biggest consumer markets include Mombasa, Cape town, and Johannesburg-Pretoria metropolitan area
Drug use is projected to increase by approximately one fifth in central and North Africa. While in southern Africa it is expected to remain relatively stable at approximately 1.3 percent of the population. East Africa is witnessing increasing number of drug users, the report added.
The dramatic increase in drug use projected in east Africa is attributed to several factors. For one, it is expected to be the continent’s most rapidly urbanizing region.
East Africa also has a persistently high proportion of youth, which can easily fall victims to drug use. The region is likely to experience the most dynamic growth in illicit drug market. In the short-term, West Africa presents significant challenges to law enforcement officials. West African drug market is expected to more than double from the current levels of 5.7 million users in 2018 to approximately 13 million in 2050.
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