Billions of {dollars} in gold flows illegally out of Africa every year – report says

Billions of {dollars}’ value of gold is smuggled out of Africa every year, largely ending up within the United Arab Emirates. There, it’s refined and bought worldwide, in keeping with a report revealed Thursday May 30.

In 2022, over $30 billion in gold, or greater than 435 metric tons, was smuggled out of Africa, says the report by Swissaid, a Swiss help and improvement group. The primary locations for this gold have been the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Switzerland, the report said.

The authors of the report mentioned their objective was to make the commerce in African gold extra clear and put strain on business gamers to do extra to make gold provides traceable and provide chains extra accountable.

“We hope that this will improve the living conditions of local populations and the working conditions of artisanal miners throughout Africa,” Yvan Schulz, one of many authors, advised The Associated Press.

The report discovered that between 32% and 41% of gold produced in Africa was not declared. In 2022, Ghana was the biggest gold producer in Africa, adopted by Mali and South Africa, it mentioned.


Between 2012-2022,  2,569 metric tons of gold, value round $115 billion have been smuggled to UAE.  The report mentioned the hole between UAE imports and exports from African international locations has widened through the years, that means that the quantity of gold smuggled out of Africa seems to have elevated over the previous decade. For instance, it widened from 234 metric tons in 2020 to 405 in 2022.


Switzerland, one other primary purchaser of African gold, imported some 21 metric tons of undeclared gold from Africa in 2022, the report mentioned. The actual determine might be a lot larger if African gold imported by means of third international locations was considered, the report mentioned, however as soon as gold is refined, it’s just about not possible to comply with its movement to it ultimate vacation spot.


The United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database, which accommodates detailed imports and exports statistics, reveals that Switzerland is the primary purchaser of gold from the UAE. “Sourcing gold from the UAE is notoriously risky,” the report mentioned, describing the issue in ascertaining the origins of the refined gold.

An official throughout the UAE authorities’s media workplace mentioned the nation has taken important steps to deal with considerations round gold smuggling and the dangers it poses. The continued progress of the UAE’s gold market mirrored the boldness of the worldwide group in its processes, the official mentioned, responding on behalf of the nation’s press workplace with out offering additional identification.

“The UAE remains steadfast in its efforts to combat gold smuggling and ensure the highest standards of transparency and accountability within the gold and precious metals sector,” the official mentioned.

The Swiss authorities mentioned it was conscious of the challenges figuring out the origins of gold and that it had launched measures to stop unlawful flows.

READ ALSO: Zimbabwe’s new gold-backed currency faces public skepticism amid crackdown

“Switzerland is and stays committed to improve the traceability of commodity flows, the transparency of statistics and the quality of controls,” Fabian Maienfisch, spokesperson for Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, mentioned.

The report in contrast export information from African international locations with import information from non-African international locations, together with different calculations, to extrapolate the info. Among its suggestions, it known as on African states to take steps to formalize artisanal and small scale mining and reinforce border controls.

It additionally known as on non-African states to publish the id of the international locations of origin and the international locations of dispatch of imported gold, and to work with authorities to establish illicit gold flows.



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