The Gambia is one of the three leading destinations for stolen cars mainly from Europe, a new report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has revealed.
“Although it is not possible to fully identify the scale of the flow of the counterfeits, anecdotal evidence suggests it is rising,” the Illicit Financial Flows: The Economy of Illicit Trade in West Africa stated.
“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.”
The magnitude of the stolen cars business in Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria appears to be influencing the arrival of cars in other countries. 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 to 90 percent 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, INTERPOL identifies.
According to the report, Asia and Europe are also implicated and that cars with ease port access are especially at risk, 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.
Although one of Africa’s poorest countries, The Gambia has strings of luxury vehicles running around and stands out as the African country that uses Mercedes Benzes as taxis, something that could not be found in most of, if not, all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Sourcing from The Torch)