International development and the global drugs trade

Neil Carrier*, Gernot Klantschnig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter assesses the links between illicit drugs and development, focussing on cannabis and khat in African countries. We suggest that a received wisdom that ascribes a negative effect to all such substances and their trade should be critiqued. While highlighting the very real threat these substances can have, we argue that based on the available empirical evidence, the causalities between drugs and underdevelopment are not always apparent. We propose a more nuanced understanding of the economic impact of drugs showing how-in certain contexts-drugs have provided farmers and entrepreneurs with opportunities not readily available in difficult economic environments. Finally, we question whether the drugs themselves or the policy designed to stop them are most harmful.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of International Development
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781137427243
ISBN (Print)9781137427236
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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