Mozambique, a nation known for its coal, ruby and gas deposits, with coal being one of its top exports making more $1.7 billion for the economy, a figure that’s doubled from last year due to rise in production and prices. Mozambique also has a dark side, Heroin is one of the nation’s largest exports for the last two decades and it’s growing into a bigger business every year, with an export value of $20 million per tonne, Heroin is probably the country’s second largest export (after coal) contributing up to $100 million per year to the local economy. The drug is produced in Afghanistan and shipped through Pakistan, then moved by sea East to particularly northern Mozambique.
At least 40 tonnes each year is moved via Pakistan across the Indian Ocean in dhows and taken ashore on beaches in northern Mozambique, said the report by London-based researcher Joseph Hanlon. “The Dubai dealer contacts a more junior figure in Kenya or northern Mozambique, who sends out Uber-like WhatsApp messages to fishing people telling them to pick up the drugs,” said Hanlon, of the London School of Economics (LSE), wrote.
Mozambique is a significant heroin transit centre and the trade has increased to 40 tonnes or more per year, making it a major export which contributes up to $100m per year to the local economy, With an export value of $20m per tonne, heroin is probably the country’s largest or second-largest export after coal.” – Hanlon, visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science said.
Mozambique’s 2,470-kilometer (1,544-mile) coastline has been used to traffic $800m worth of narcotics, shipped annually from its beaches to neighbouring countries and Europe.
The drug flow used to be controlled by Kingpins who had ties with the government, laundering the profits from their drug trade through empty beachfront hotels and glitzy shopping malls in downtown Maputo. Now, freelancers are disrupting that trade, thanks to WhatsApp and other messaging services. Drugs are trafficked by drivers and fisherman who follow anonymous instructions from Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, bypassing the traditional networks. Through encrypted apps like Telegram, Viber and Signal, dealers can send photos of the product and the contact person, making it easier to trust these-so-called freelancers, Quartz reports.
The drug trade in the country grows rampant every year as it spreads into the coast, Pemba and the Quirimbas archipelago, are tourists spots now used as landing areas for the drug. Larger quantities of heroin arrive through containers, packed with appliances from the Middle East or rice from Pakistan, a bribe stops the containers from being searched.
Corrupt politicians, bribe and lawlessness have allowed the drug trade to prevail for years giving room for the wide-spread of drug-lords to establish themselves profoundly in the economy making it harder to dismantle the solid drug infrastructure.