Reports say that the Democratic Republic of Congo might be the largest producers of cannabis in Africa. And the crops are in such high demand, that some former miners of conflict metals are seeking a career shift.
Conflict Metals in Congo
If you’re reading this, don’t forget to wipe the blood off of your touchscreen. Relax (a bit). It’s metaphorical, but only slightly. Your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop and your smartwatch are instruments of destruction and war.
About the only “good news” about the longstanding practice of high-tech gadget manufacturers sourcing raw materials from war-ravaged areas is that everybody does it.
According to Amnesty International, buyers of “conflict metals” like cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo—where child labor does the mining and where child soldiers also inflict the killing in the predictable squabbles over resources—include Apple, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and Lenovo.
Strike that. There’s more good news. The Congo is also a hub for cannabis production—according to some sources, the biggest producer of marijuana anywhere in Africa. And as per a new report in Ozy, some former miners are ditching blood minerals and growing weed instead.
A decade ago, according to the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime’s annual World Drug Report, Africa was a global leader in cannabis production. As per the UN, more than 10,500 metric tonnes of marijuana was grown on the continent. This is about 23 million pounds or a quarter of the world’s total.
These days, so much weed is grown worldwide than the most recent World Drug Report didn’t even bother to include an estimate—but just for comparison’s sake, recall that California alone grew an estimated 13.5 million pounds of weed in 2016—and most seizures occur in either North or South America, but cannabis is still a big deal in Africa.