By Own Correspondent with support from Business Guide-Ghana – Ghana and other West African countries served as conduits for the shipment of large consignments of cocaine and heroine from South America to their final destinations in Western Europe in 2008, a recent report by the World Bank has stated.
Titled ‘World Development Report 2011’, the document, which also touches on conflict, security and development, reveals that 25 tonnes of cocaine, estimated at $1 billion, was shipped from South America through West African countries including Ghana, before reaching their final destinations in Western Europe, where it gained an ultimate value of $6.8 billion.
With heroine registering $65 billion and cocaine recording $88 billion, the annual value of the illicit trade globally was at $153 billion, the April 2011 report explained.
The report continued that international drug traffickers began using West Africa as a base for shipping cocaine from South America to Europe in 2004 due to institutional weaknesses in countries of the region. The drug traffickers used some of the profits to bribe government officials.
“Europe and North America consumes 53 percent of heroine and 67 percent of cocaine; however, the high retail prices in these markets mean that economic share of consumption in Europe and North America is even higher: cocaine consumption in the two regions accounted for an estimated $72 billion of the $88 billion in global trade,” the report revealed further.
Due to the absence of the rule of law, often in countries affected by violence, the report said,” organized crime generated annual revenues ranging from $120 billion to as high as $330 billion, with drug trafficking being the most profitable. Other estimates suggest that the world’s shadow economy, including organized crime, could be as high as 10 percent of gross.