ABIDJAN - In this story, investigative journalists Daan Bauwens and Nicholas Ibekwe focus on Highway 10, the transatlantic route that for centuries brought millions of captured African slaves to South-America via the tenth parallel.

Now the parallel is in use again as one of the preferred routes for South-American drug cartels for cocaine, with West-Africa as a stockpiling stopover along the way to the growing European market.

Grand-Bassam beach
The beach of Grand-Bassam, half an hour's drive from Abidjan and close to the border with Ghana. Every month the authorities remove fishing boats from the water with cannabis or illegal pills on board.

In the fourteen years since the route has been fully functional, West-Africa has suffered the spillover effects of the drug trade. After the seizure of first eight tonnes of cocaine and then 1.2 tonnes of cocaine in South-America, with the port city of Abidjan as destination, this story focuses on the little known effects of the drug trade in Ivory Coast, a country that has suffered a great deal of civil unrest in the last decades.

Besides the obvious detrimental effects on health and the social fabric in the country, does the drug trade also have the potential of bringing about political violence and military adventurism as it has done in other West-African nations before? 

© Daan Bauwens

Daan Bauwens

Since 2008 Daan Bauwens combines freelance work for television, radio and print in Belgium and overseas. 

Nicholas Ibekwe

Nicholas Ibekwe is the Deputy Head of Investigations at Nigeria's foremost online newspaper, Premium Times, and a multi-award-winning journalist. 

A grant of €10.396 was allotted in July 2018.



SPECIAL REPORT: Drug Frontier: How cocaine trafficking is impacting West Africa - Premium Times, 1 January 2020


Comment votre conso de coke fout la merde en Afrique de l’Ouest - VICE France, 27 May 2020


West-Afrika betaalt de tol voor Europese cocaïneverslaving - MO* Magazine, 13 December 2019

West-Afrika betaalt de prijs voor Europese cocaïneverslaving - Oneworld.nl, 3 January 2020

Hoe jouw cokegebruik West-Afrika ruïneert - VICE Belgium, 26 May 2020


West-Afrika betaalt de tol voor Europese cocaïneverslaving - MO* Magazine, December 2019

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