How WhatsApp helep igbo become Mozambique second biggest export

Bags of drugs Image copyright iStock
Image example Some of di igbo wey dey inside europe dey come for Mozambique

Mozambique wey God don bless scatter wit plenti natural resources like crude oil don become major exporter, but na hard drug dey inside e containers.

Di kain bags of igbo wey dey sneak like snake enta di southern African kontri dey increase evri year sotey e don become di second biggest exporter for world.

And e cari first position for di most important bus stop for international igbo traders wey dey follow wuruwuru cari dia market enta Europe from Afghanistan sake of say e dey hard dem to follow direct road.

Sabi pesin for Mozambique Joseph Hanlon tok say wetin make dis bizness very special be say na mobile phone apps dem dey use run tins.

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'Why I dey smoke igbo'

Di igbo dey from Afghanistan enta Pakistan and from dia dem go cari am inside big boat wey dem make wit wood or dhow reach north Mozambique.

Di boat go park for offshore, na from dia small boats dey pack di igbo go beach, den dem go move am go warehouse.

Na for warehouse dem dey move di igbo inside small truck, travel 3,000km by road reach Johannesburg for South Africa before dem put am inside ship go Europe.

Evri week one dhow dey cari 1000 kilogram of igbo go offshore except during heavy raining season. Di journey dey reach up to 40 times per year.

Igbo dey also enta di kontri port for Nacala and Beira through container and dem dey hide am inside oda tins like washing machines.

All dis one mean say, at least 40,000 kilograms of igbo dey pass through di kontri evri year, according to sabi pipo.

Dem say di drug moni fit reach $20m per 1,000kg and dat one don make am Mozambique second ogbonge export afta coal.

Mozambique ogbonge exports:

  • Coal - $687m
  • Heroin - $600-800m (estimate)
  • Electricity - $378m (2016)
  • Aluminium - $378m (2016)
  • Gas and oil - $307m (2016)

Wia di informate come from: Mozambique goment; Joseph Hanlon

Out of di total moni wey dis illegal export dey bring, around $100m dey remain inside Mozambique as profits and bribes to settle members for di ruling Frelimo parti.

Since 2000, na legit import companies dey do dis export bizness.

Dem dey hide di drugs as legit product and dem dey use dia warehouse, staff plus moto take arrange di parole.

For port, dem dey tell workers make dem no check di containers of some companies dis way dem no go fit find di hard drugs.

Image copyright AFP
Image example Port for Mozambique

Politics dey inside

Senior members of Frelimo sabi say di business dey happun, dis one mean say no fight fight dey happun between di drug families wey dey do di bizness.

Police tok tok pesin Inacio Dina say authority dey chook eye for di mata.

Im say police dey do dia best to stop am but im also confess say e hard to bring am down no be small.

"We suppose understand say di kontri location, wit im long wata route and long border, anytin fit happun."

Meanwhile big kontris dem just ignore di mata unto say dem want change to happun for oda areas, like make private business dem get more hand for di kontri development.

Anoda type of drug bizness don show, di idea na from "gig" economy wey dey use mobile phone app to contact contractor and to know weda dem dey available.

Image example Dem dey use dhows move di igbo from Pakistan wata side go near Mozambique.

Since mobile phone dey reach everiwia for north Mozambique, e dey promote di business.

WhatsApp wey popular for dia and plus say all im message na secret, e dey increase corruption for di kontri.

For di case of Mozambique igbo business, driver or boat owner fit get message for wia to go pick or supply di igbo, plus how dem go fit collect dia moni for WhatsApp.

Image copyright Getty Images

Secret network

Nobodi sabi di name of di pesin wey send dem di message or wia dem dey.

For pipo wey dey control di bizness, to order movement of 20kg of igbo be like to order Uber or Taxify, na total secret.

Twenty years ago, corrupt policemen bin dey escort drivers wit igbo from north reach south of Mozambique, to make sure say nobodi go stop dem for police check point.

Den as mobile phone network begin improve, dem bin dey give danfo drivers dia numbers to call if anybodi stop dem.

But di corruption don change, now di drug traders dey give drivers plenti moni to bribe police for checkpoint. Anytin wey remain inside di moni na dia pay for di waka be dat.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image example Igbo wey dem dey grow for Afganista dey find im way enta Europe through Mozambique.

For dis new world of secret message apps, pesin fit dey Europe, order 100kg wit any distributor for world.

Tru tru, Mozambique igbo business be like any oda business - just anoda tin wey dey pass through Mozambique wey international companies dey arrange.

Joseph Hanlon na visiting senior fellow for London sSchool of Economics and editor of Mozambique Political Process Bulletin. Dis na short version of im full report. You fit read am here.

Another thing we de for inside dis tori