Ivory Coast: Illegal Drugs

cotedivoireflagIllegal trafficking is one of many pains from which African countries suffer, and Ivory Coast is not exempt from this problem. The country has been wracked with terrible debt and nearly went bankrupt toward the beginning of the 2000’s. In order to manage this problem, some difficult decisions had to be made. As a result there was a decrease in job opportunities and in government spending, especially regarding education, health and leisure.  This created social discomfort among the population in the 15 to 35 age group, which experienced an increase in alcoholism, drug use, prostitution and delinquency.

Due to its strategic location, the country become the center of many exchanges from all means of transport. To give a concrete example, people from Ghana bring Marijuana to Ivory Coast using only a canoe, and the drug is then re-exported to other destinations. From January 1993 to June 1993, 1631.915 kg of Marijuana was confiscated, of which 500kg originated from Ghana. Some of the deliveries seized in Ivory Coast were destined for Marseille (France) or even for London.

However, heroine and cocaine come from more distant countries like Pakistan or Lebanon to be re-exported towards the USA or Europeans countries. These drugs are more difficult for the Ivorian police to confiscate, and the quantity that the police succeed in seizing is only a very small part of what is circulating in the country.

Corruption sadly does not help the fight against drug trafficking in Ivory Coast, as some cases prove. A French man was arrested in Ivory Coast for possession of 800 kg of Marijuana, but his file mysteriously disappeared. A Nigerian man who helped in the transfer of heroin was arrested in obvious offence but released after one month of incarceration.

Some positive measures have been taken. In recent years in which the consumption of drugs increased in schools in Abidjan, the brigade of the Juvenile Prison has come anonymously and regularly to regulate and prevent this phenomenon.

Ivory Coast fought drug trafficking, but unfortunately all the movements cannot be controlled, being overshadowed by corruption and by the many other problems the country must address. As a result they cannot give the best means to fight and stop this traffic. Nonetheless, the country is beginning to concentrate more on these problems as the economy starts to improve.

– by Marine M.