Ghana and two other countries serve as the most popular destinations for stolen cars, a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has revealed.
In addition, Ghana is associated with trafficking in three major drugs and oil theft.
According to the report, “although it is not possible to fully identify the scale of the flow of the counterfeits, anecdotal evidence suggests it is rising. These practices are not unique to West Africa; the discovery of a large trafficking ring revealed that the most popular destinations for vehicles are Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria.”
This OECD (2018) report is titled, “Illicit Financial Flows: The Economy of Illicit Trade in West Africa” and published under the responsibility of the Secretary-General of OECD.
The magnitude of the stolen cars business in Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria appears to be influencing the arrival of cars in other countries.
“For example, the rate of Benin’s imports of second-hand cars rose from 200,000 vehicles per year in 2010 to 314,000 in 2014. Around 80-90% of these vehicles go to Nigeria; it is likely that that number of transactions are illegal; and that Benin and Togo compete to smuggle vehicles into Nigeria,” authors of the OECD referenced INTERPOL.
According to the report, Asia and Europe are also implicated.
“Cars are stolen from markets in Europe, most notably those with ease port access, although some vehicles are stolen from landlocked states. In an impressive display of logistical capacity, a car stolen in Europe can take less than 24 hours to arrive in West Africa for resale.”
The report also links Ghana to oil stolen from neighbouring Nigeria. According to the report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated in a 2014 report that oil theft in Nigeria amounted to 150,000 b/d; this would comprise a loss of over $5 billion per year — a sum that would fund access to electricity for all Nigerians by 2030.
“The more professional bunkering operations are highly armed and linked to foreigners. These include Moroccans, Venezuelans, Lebanese, Chinese and Russians, who own ships that load crude oil and deliver it for refining to Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire before transferring it to other markets.”
On drugs, the OECD reports that since 2011, West Africa has become a prominent region for methamphetamine manufacturing. In that year alone, five methamphetamine labs were discovered and dismantled in Nigeria.