FDI shoots up in West Africa

Defying the global financial crisis, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea have recorded sharp rises in foreign direct investment in recent months. Trouble is, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, most of the increase is drug money. “Foreign direct investments in these (three) countries, unexplained so far by their economic performance, have exploded. Remittances have grown. Even the currencies of the region are being revalued,” says the beleaguered head of the organisation, Antonio Maria Costa. “This is a form of money laundering, it comes in as foreign direct investment, it goes into rural real estate, purchase of land, hotels, tourism,” he told West African leaders in Cape Verde, who are meeting to discuss the problem.

As well as the above three countries and Sierra Leone, which I wrote about in July, a researcher who works for Kofi Annan claims that Ghana has become another hub for the drug deluge, which he believes will affect the country’s current election campaign. Here’s a helpful map of West Africa’s Cocaine Coast – expect Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, which like Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau are struggling to rebuild after devastating wars and which are surrounded by drug havens, to be next.