The evolution of illicit drug markets and drug policy in Africa

2019-06-30

Globally, support for drug policy reform has grown over the past 10 years. Even as the drug prohibition consensus-keepers in Vienna have voted for yet another 10-year extension to their still unsuccessful 20-year strategy for global drug control at the March 2019 Commission on Narcotic Drugs High Level Review meeting, a reform movement among global member states has been gaining credibility and strength.

The purpose of this report is to reflect on the changing drug policy environment in Africa, particularly in the period leading up to and after the seminal UNGASS 2016 meeting of member states. It also examines the politics of continental drug policy prohibition and reform in the context of the growing global movement to embrace drug policy alternatives to the once universal approach of strict prohibition. Observations and recommendations are made regarding incorporating drug policy reform in the context of achieving developmental success with respect to the continental Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 goals.

About the author 

Jason Eligh is a senior expert at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime. He is an illicit drugs trade and policy analyst who has worked for the United Nations, and has researched, developed and led technical cooperation and assistance initiatives addressing illicit drugs for numerous African and East Asian governments. His expertise focuses on understanding the myriad contexts influencing illicit drug use behaviour and the resilience of drug trade environments, particularly as these factors relate to the development and sustainability of harm.

Photo: © Adobe Stock – artit

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