Khat in Djibouti Drug Trade Is Firmly in Women's Hands in this African Country

Little functions in the Horn of Africa without the drug khat, and trade in the popular, amphetamine-laden leaf is proving to be crisis-proof. Khat sellers have risen to become their family’s main breadwinners.
By Benjamin Moscovici in Djibouti City
A man buys khat on a street in Djibouti (archive photo from December 2008)

A man buys khat on a street in Djibouti (archive photo from December 2008)

Foto: Carsten Koall / Getty Images
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The city of Djibouti is the capital of the small coastal state Djibouti on the Horn of Africa

The city of Djibouti is the capital of the small coastal state Djibouti on the Horn of Africa

Foto: Mike Abrahams / Corbis / Getty Images
Khat sales in Djibouti City: Trade in the drug, which is legal here, has been largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Khat sales in Djibouti City: Trade in the drug, which is legal here, has been largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Foto: MCT / Getty Images
Vendor Zainaba A. on the way to her stand, arms full of khat.

Vendor Zainaba A. on the way to her stand, arms full of khat.

Foto: Benjamin Moscovici
Porters gather around a truck carrying khat in Mogadishu (in this archive photo from 2014).

Porters gather around a truck carrying khat in Mogadishu (in this archive photo from 2014).

Foto: Feisal Omar / REUTERS
Khat farmers selling their harvest: Consumption of the plant is probably most comparable to chewing coca leaves. After a few hours, however, the stimulating effect often gives way to a deep inertia.

Khat farmers selling their harvest: Consumption of the plant is probably most comparable to chewing coca leaves. After a few hours, however, the stimulating effect often gives way to a deep inertia.

Foto: Peter McBride / Aurora Photos / imago images

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.