(il)licit livelihoods in Africa: Drug policy and reproduction of poverty

We presented a summary of our research at the Bristol Poverty Institute Showcase 2022 on the 30th June to an audience composed of academics and practitioners. Our poster titled ‘(il)licit livelihoods in Africa: Drug policy and reproduction of poverty ’ covers the combined findings of two projects: Hidden Narratives of Il/licit Livelihoods in West Africa and Cannabis Africana: Drugs and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Drug policies in Africa are rarely designed from a development lens. In their current form, drug policies tend to prevent small operators from making a livelihood, often targeting those who are involved in subsistence activities around cannabis farming and the sale of tramadol. As a result, state policies play a key role in the reproduction of poverty in Africa. This poster highlights the counterproductive impacts and tensions arising from the implementation of drug policies as well as the narrative of small-scale operators contesting these interventions. It illustrates the impact on local communities and highlights the quintessential development issues that are often neglected when implementing measures associated to the global war on drugs. 

You may also be interested in our project’s latest publications on the topic: click here.

Bristol Poverty Institute Showcase 2022- Poster presentation