Karen Leigh is a contributor to TIME, The Atlantic and others, currently in Berlin and previously based in West Africa. She also reported for TIME during the Arab Spring from Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Libya; worked as an anchor and reporter for Mint/WSJ in New Delhi; edited at an English-language daily in Cambodia; and traveled with the 2008 U.S. presidential campaigns for Bloomberg News. She has written for Monocle, The Newsweek Daily Beast and Foreign Policy and guested on Bloomberg TV and Deutsche Welle.
In coastal Accra—the seat of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies—industry has been expanding in more ways than one. Ghana, known as one of the most stable countries in West Africa, has become a major global hub for cocaine trafficking. Smugglers have been escalating their activity across the region in recent years, using Ghana, Guinea Bissau and other countries in the Sahel region as way stations between Latin America and Europe, where cocaine sales total more than $2 billion per year.