West African Drug Commission Reports

These reports are part of a series of background documents prepared for the Commission on the Impact of Drug Trafficking on Governance, Security and Development in West Africa (WACD). The series editor is CIC Fellow Camino Kavanagh.

WACD Background Paper Series


1. Drug Trafficking And Threats to National and Regional Security in West Africa WACD Background Paper | Kwesi Aning & John Pokoo

In less than one and a half decades West Africa has become a major transit and repackaging hub for cocaine and heroin flowing from the Latin American and Asian producing areas to European markets. Drug trafficking is not new to the region; the phenomenon rapidly expanded in the mid-2000s as a result of a strategic shift of Latin American drug syndicates towards the rapidly growing European market, leading UNODC to state in 2008 that ‘…the crisis of drug trafficking … is gaining attention. Alarm bells are ringing …West Africa has become a hub for cocaine trafficking. This is more than a drugs problem. It is a serious security threat.”

2. Prevention and Treatment of DrugDependence in West Africa WACD Background Paper | Isidore S. Obot

The main objective of this policy brief is to assess the state of drug demand reduction (prevention of use and treatment for dependence) in West Africa and analyze responses to the problem of drug demand in the region. The discussion draws from a diverse array of available information from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), research published in peer-reviewed journals, and reports and other materials from non-governmental organizations(NGOs).

3. Drug Trafficking and its Impact on Governance in West Africa | Adebayo O. Olukoshi & Isidore S. Obot

In recent years, West Africa has come into the spotlight as an increasingly important site and destination in the global drug trafficking system. Evidence of the growing role of the sub-region in the global strategy and operations of international drug cartels is broad and varied, comprising a complex admixture of both direct, traceable facts from official and non-official sources, and more indirect information of an indicative, associative and anecdotal nature.

4. Challenging the Myth of the Drug-Terror Nexus in the Sahel | Wolfram Lacher

The rise of extremist activity in the Sahel-Sahara region from 2005 onwards has gone in parallel with the growth of drug trafficking networks across the area. But are these two developments related – and if so, how?

5. State Officials and their Involvement in Drug Trafficking in West Africa | Lansana Giberie

This paper examines a controversial problem in West Africa: the alleged complicity of state security and political officials in drug trafficking.

6. International and Regional Responses to Drug Trafficking in West Africa | Camino Kavanagh & Summer Walker

The main objective of this background paper is to develop a preliminary overview of:

  • i) the international, regional and national policy and operational responses that have been developed in response to drug trafficking in West Africa to date, and the types of drugs they target;
  • ii) the implementation status of these initiatives;
  • iii) the perceived impact of these responses to date, including the mechanisms that have been established to monitor and measure impact and effectiveness; and
  • iv) the main multi- l and bi-lateral partners engaged in supporting regional efforts to stem drug trafficking

7. The Global Drug Policy Debate Experiences from the Americas and Europe | Renata Segura with Sabrina Stein

Mounting evidence points to the fact that the drug control regime, which heretofore has criminalized the production, possession, trafficking and consumption of narcotics has failed in its attempt to eliminate, or even significantly curtail the drug market.

8. Treatment Policy for Substance Dependence in West Africa | Joseph B. Asare & Isidore S. Obot.

This paper discusses treatment of substance use disorders in the ECOWAS region, clearly identifying an absence of demand reduction policies in the sub-region and significant challenges regarding access to treatment.

9. Illicit Trafficking and Instability in Mali | Camino Kavanagh & Stephen Ellis

In this commentary, Global Initiative Board Member, Camino Kavanagh who is based in Bamako, together with Prof. Stephen Ellis, renowned Africanist at the University of Leiden, raise some additional points to consider, including the extent of the narco-terrorist relationship, and the degree to which we as the international community could have seen the crisis coming.

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