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Africa's legal cannabis market could generate $7.1 billion each year by 2023

Published on 25/03/19 at 10:28am

Africa’s legal cannabis market could generate more than $7.1 billion each year by 2023, according to a report from market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners.

Cannabis has been cultivated and consumed on the African continent for hundreds of years. However the drug remains illegal across large swathes of the continent, despite being widely cultivated and consumed.

The UN estimates 10,000 tonnes of cannabis are produced in Africa each year. Meanwhile the continent has one of the highest rates of consumption in the world, with annual prevalence at a rate of 13.2%.

Thus if African markets open up – mirroring trends in North America and Europe – the continent’s legal cannabis market could generate more than $7.1 billion annually by 2023. International demand could offer a strong opportunity for future growth.

Meanwhile domestic markets could create significant demand. While Africa is home to five of the world’s top 30 countries for cannabis prevalence among adult populations (15-64), the medicinal cannabis market could be worth millions by 2023.

Assuming full legalisation, South Africa and Nigeria could have medicinal cannabis markets worth $667 million and $75 million respectively.

Daragh Anglim, Managing Director at Prohibition Partners, explained: “A regulated legal cannabis market could be transformative to patients, farmers and economies across Africa. From a financial standpoint, Africa could reap significant rewards through the legalisation of cannabis, with international demand offering a strong commercial opportunity for cannabis cultivation.”

“Despite moves to legalise in several key markets, cannabis remains illegal across vast swathes of the continent as the great majority of African governments have yet to follow the trend of legalisation that is sweeping across Europe, North America and Latin America.”

“It is currently estimated that more than 38,000 tonnes of illegal cannabis is produced across Africa each year, with a market value of billions of dollars. This demonstrates the clear potential for an economic boom for African countries that actively seek to legalise and regulate their cannabis market.”

Louis Goss

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