According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the global production of cocaine has surged to unprecedented levels, largely due to increased demand following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
The report indicates that coca cultivation increased by 35% between 2021 and 2022 to reach record levels, with new trafficking hubs emerging in West and Central Africa.
International postal services are now being used more frequently by drug traffickers to deliver drugs to consumers, according to the report.
While Europe and North America remain the largest markets for cocaine, followed by South and Central America and the Caribbean, the report suggests that new markets are emerging in Africa and Asia, which could pose a dangerous threat.
The Global Report on Cocaine attributes the production increase to an expansion in the cultivation of coca bushes, as well as improvements in converting coca into powdered cocaine.
The report also indicates that seizure data suggest the role of Africa, particularly West and Central Africa, as a transit zone for cocaine on its way to European markets has increased significantly since 2019. The quantity of cocaine seized in Africa and the number of large seizures appear to have reached record levels during 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a disruptive impact on drug markets as international travel was severely restricted, leading to a drop in demand for cocaine.
However, the latest data indicates that this slump had little impact on longer-term trends. As a result, the global supply of cocaine has now reached a record high.
In the UK, the report highlights a significant increase in the number of seizures of cocaine in the “fast parcel and postal modes.” While law enforcement interceptions have been on the rise, they have not kept pace with production, according to the report.
Key findings include:
- Ghanaian law enforcement perceived that cocaine trafficking through Ghana had resulted in the establishment of a domestic market. As of 2017, cocaine accounted for 26 per cent of drug treatment provision in Ghana
- Saudi Arabia has the highest retail cocaine prices of $533 while the illicit drug costs $20 in Ghana
- While comprehensive comparable data for 2021 were not available it appears that trafficking from Brazil to West and Central Africa rebounded during 2021, as at least 3 cocaine consignments in excess of 500 kg each, amounting to 2.9 tons, were seized in Brazil with destination Ghana, in addition to smaller consignments meant for Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
- Since 2013 the UNODC Drugs Monitoring Platform has recorded only one seizure of 100 kg or more in Ghana, specifically in September 2020 at Tema port.
- Colombia still dominates trafficking routes although paths to Europe have evolved
- Consumption in Australia peaked in the middle of 2020, dropped by 50% the following year and picked up “moderately” in the last few months of 2021
- Mexican and Balkan criminal groups have moved closer to the centre of production to gain access to supplies
- The use of crack cocaine is on the upward trend in several western European countries including the UK, Belgium, France and Spain
- In Ukraine, the market had been expanding, but since Russia’s invasion last February the demand has been disrupted drastically
Gov’t to restrict importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products
The government is set to lay before Parliament today, November 21, a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of selected strategic products into the country.
The items, numbering over 20, will include rice, tripe (popularly called “yemuadie” in Ghana), and diapers.
The government said the move is part of efforts to enhance local production.
Speaking during a press briefing in Parliament, the Minister of Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond said, “Stomach of animals, bladder and the chunk of intestines (yemuadie), the country had had to put in an amount of about $164 million towards the importation of these items. We are taking steps to ensure that in terms of rice, there’s no poverty of rice in the country.”
He emphasized, “By these restrictions, we are not going to ensure that there’s no food in the country at all; that is not the point at all. There have to be some efforts by the government to ensure that we go back to Acheampong’s operation feed yourself. There are about 22 items on the list, one of them, I think, is diapers.”
He announced the introduction of the Ghana Standards Authority Regulations 2023, which also seeks to streamline the manufacturing of cement to ensure competitive pricing.
Mahama doesn’t understand 24hr economy; don’t vote for him – Bawumia
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says former President John Dramani Mahama does not understand the 24-hour economy policy he is proposing.
According to the Vice President, that policy is already being implemented in the country, as hospitals, fuel companies, among others, operate a 24-hour system.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, urged Ghanaians to ignore Mahama during the 2024 polls since he has nothing new to offer and vote for the New Patriotic Party.
“John Mahama says he has a new idea. What is the idea? He says he wants a 24-hour economy. He doesn’t even understand that policy. Today in Ghana, our hospitals work 24 hours, our electricity company works 24 hours, our water company works 24 hours, our fuel stations work 24 hours, and many chop bars work 24 hours. Today because of digitalisation, you can transfer money 24 hours, you can receive money 24 hours… So he doesn’t understand his own policy. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I want you to vote for me in 2024 because I will bring a new vision, I will bring a new policy. Mahama is the past, Dr Bawumia is the future. If John Mahama was there, we would say we have a dumsor economy, you can’t have a 24-hour economy in dumsor. So, you want to vote for Dr Bawumia in 2024, we will take the country to new heights,” Dr Bawumia stated.
Bagbin rebukes IMF over alleged pressure to pass some bills under certificate of urgency
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has accused the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of pressuring the House to pass a number of bills under a certificate of urgency.
Mr. Bagbin cited bills such as the Affirmative Action Bill, which is allegedly being pushed by the IMF as part of the conditionality for the balance of the $3 billion credit facility for Ghana.
Speaking at the Speaker’s Breakfast Meeting on Monday, Alban Bagbin insisted that the House will not be coerced by the IMF to pass the bill.
“Even in this budget, you can see the arm of the IMF in a lot of provisions in the budget. A critical bill like the Affirmative Action Gender Equality Bill has come to Parliament under a certificate of urgency. Please, it won’t happen; we won’t pass it under a certificate of urgency.”
“There are critical stakeholders we must consult and make sure we go together. We will not be dictated by the IMF; that one, you can be assured. This is a very critical bill that the IMF should know that we need the buy-in of the stakeholders to be able to implement it,” Alban Bagbin said.
The Affirmative Action Bill, when passed into law, would seek to expunge the historically low representation of women in decision-making spaces and promote democracy and development through all-inclusive participation.