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It is devilishly difficult to accurately track and describe the international trade in narcotics. Trafficking routes emerge with startling rapidity, states alternately demonize and then decriminalize different drugs, while fickle consumers spur the development of markets for new types of narcotics overnight. The illicit organizations conducting the trade have every reason to camouflage their activities, […]

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October 2012 saw the publication of the latest book in the African Arguments series: ‘Africa and the War on Drugs’ by Gernot Klantschnig and Neil Carrier (published by Zed Books).  African Arguments online  (a spin-off website from the book series) ran a short debate series on the book including a review by […]

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One shorthand form to understand the global expansion of the drug trade and its routes is as an imperium of transnational traffickers taking over small, poor and defenceless countries: “across the globe,” wrote Moisés Naim in Foreign Affairs last year, “criminals have penetrated governments to an unprecedented degree.”[i] The slim and illuminating volume […]

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In Africa and the War on Drugs, Carrier and Klantschnig provide an insightful overview of the history of African drug production, trade, consumption and policy, with a particular focus on khat and cannabis. While less informative on the history of the trade and use of heroin and cocaine, the book provides important insights into recent […]

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Today we will launch a series of reviews of the new African Arguments publication, Africa and the War on Drugs by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig. And if you “like us” on Facebook, you can receive a discount on purchases of any books in the African Arguments series.

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It was both a luxury and a challenge for me to write the book. I am a BBC news journalist responsible for covering all fifty-four countries in Africa, although I have a special interest in Somalia, and have reported from and about the country for the past twenty years. I work in seconds, not numbers of words or pages; most of the pieces I write for broadcast are thirty seconds long. If I am lucky, I will get to go on for about a minute. So writing a book of 60,000 words was for me a new and at times intimidating adventure.

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