HomeNewsBriefIs Mozambique Set to Become Africa's Next Hub for LatAm Cocaine?
BRIEF

Is Mozambique Set to Become Africa's Next Hub for LatAm Cocaine?

BRAZIL / 22 APR 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

A recent report has highlighted the increasing role of the East African nation Mozambique in the international drug trade, adding weight to warnings that the influence of Latin American criminals in Africa is no longer limited to a handful of west coast countries.

The investigation, by Think Africa Press, explains how Mozambique's porous borders, extensive coastline and patchy governance have made it an increasingly popular transshipment point for international drug traffickers.

Cocaine is typically smuggled into Mozambique by drug mules travelling by plane from Colombia and Brazil, while some also arrives by sea. Capture and seizure patterns at the airport of capital city Maputo indicate the majority of these mules are South African, Mozambican, Nigerian or Tanzanian nationals.

Much of the cocaine then continues on to South Africa, which the report labels as the major regional consumer market, or is flown out to Europe and East Asia. The local sale of cocaine to Mozambican citizens and tourists has also growingly become a by-product of the drug trade.

Some believe that efforts by authorities to thwart drug trafficking activities are compromised by corrupt security and government officials, and a lack of resources.

The other main drugs transited through Mozambique are heroin, mandrax (a sedative) and marijuana, which are mainly shipped over from South Asia.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Africa has emerged as a popular transshipment point for Latin American cocaine traffickers, who take advantage of corrupt and ineffective security controls and the continent's proximity to the increasingly important European market.

The West African nation of Guinea-Bissau has become the most notorious African drug hub, as top level corruption has turned the country into a bona fide narco-state. However, there have been warning signs that the presence of trafficking is expanding, with a 2013 report by the African Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) highlighting how other countries in the region such as Mali, the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique, also risk falling into the clutches of the global drug trade. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Criminal Migration

Mozambique's location on Africa's eastern coast makes it a less obvious option as a transit point for cocaine arriving from the Americas, particularly for drugs arriving via maritime routes. However, the information from the Think Africa Press report suggests traffickers are using different methods than those employed on the west coast, employing commercial flights and container ships rather than moving product themselves. In a report issued in late-2013, Americas police association Ameripol highlighted the use of the coast of East Africa by traffickers, as part of a route passing through the Suez Canal.

It is unclear whether the traffickers using Mozambique as a transit point are Latin American or African. While Latin American groups pioneered the use of the continent for trafficking, African organized crime groups -- particularly Nigerians -- are believed to be playing an increasing role in the cocaine trade.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 16 OCT 2018

Reports that criminal groups in Colombia are increasingly recruiting migrants from Venezuela shows how these armed actors are taking advantage of those…

COCA / 20 MAY 2020

While it has imposed a stringent coronavirus lockdown, the Colombian government has come under fire for allowing coca eradication campaigns…

COCA / 10 JUN 2020

A wave of violence has struck Colombia's southwestern Cauca department, in the form of targeted killings and armed groups battling…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.