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City of Banjul
Friday, September 25, 2020

‘West Africa cocaine flow to Europe worth $1.25 billion’

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Agnès Guillaud was speaking on Thursday at the Banjul International Airport during the inauguration of the country’s Aircop Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force on organised crime and drug trafficking. 

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She said: “The West African route, mainly passing through countries along the Gulf of Guinea and the Sahel and Sahara areas, has been used for some time as transhipment, repackaging and storage region for cocaine from South America. It is estimated that between 8 to 13% of cocaine trafficking to Europe flows through West Africa at approximately 18 tons per year. Even at a reduced level since 2008, it is still estimated that the flow is worth 1.25 billion dollars. Transnational organised crime is one of the major threats to human security, affecting the social, economic, political and cultural developments of our societies. We know that in order to fight it, we have to fight back together at a national, regional and global level. Drugs trafficking is one of the major sources of revenue of organised crime that some estimate to amount to 300 billion dollars per year. Cocaine is transported from South America to the European Union across the Atlantic by air and maritime routes. Although maritime shipments pose the greatest problem because large quantities can be transported and detection is challenging, individual couriers and air freight also play an important role. In West Africa the problem is reaching acute levels. Given the wholesale value of a single ton of cocaine in Europe, the potential for criminal groups to sow corruption and support violent groups is considerable.”

According to the EU charge d’affaires, the establishment of a Joint Airport Interdiction Task Force in The Gambia will help authorities in the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking.  

She added: “One of the main instruments of the EU to support the fight against organised crime and drug trafficking in partner countries is the Instrument for Stability now known as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), which was established in 2007. From 2007 to 2013, the instrument has allocated about 139 million euros to fund measures to fight global and trans-regional threats, of which 57 percent are for projects focused on organised crime. Since 2009, the European Union has committed close to 50 million euros in more than 40 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin and Central America under the Cocaine Route Programme. It intervenes in three main sectors namely interdiction of illicit flows, with projects like Aircop, money laundering, and information sharing. I would like to thank the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their leadership in this initiative as well as Interpol and the World Customs Organisation for their valuable contribution as project partners. Also, many thanks to the trainers from the Italian Guardia di Finanza for their contribution and efforts during the mentoring sessions organised over the past two weeks.”

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