June 20, 2024

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gold smuggling from Africa

UAE Tops List for Africa’s Smuggled Gold, Report Says

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According to a report released on Thursday, a significant amount of gold, estimated to be worth over $30 billion or 435 metric tons, was illegally transported out of Africa in 2022. The report, published by Swissaid, a Swiss-based aid and development organization, reveals that the majority of this smuggled gold ends up in the United Arab Emirates, where it undergoes refinement before being sold globally to various customers.

The report further indicates that the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Switzerland serve as the primary destinations for the illegal trade of African gold. This alarming trend highlights the need for stricter regulations and enforcement measures to control the illegal export of this valuable resource from the African continent.

The report highlights that a significant portion of gold produced in Africa remains undeclared. Specifically, between 32% and 41% of gold output in Africa goes unreported. In 2022, Ghana led the continent in gold production, followed closely by Mali and South Africa.

The report revealed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stood out as the primary destination for illegal transported gold, receiving approximately 405 metric tons of unreported gold from Africa. Over a span of ten years from 2012 to 2022, this accumulation totaled to 2,569 metric tons of gold, valued at approximately $115 billion.

A representative from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government’s media office acknowledged that the country has made substantial efforts to address concerns regarding gold smuggling and its associated risks.

“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 said.

Switzerland, a significant buyer of African gold, imported around 21 metric tons of unreported gold from Africa in 2022. However, the actual amount of African gold imported by Switzerland could be significantly higher if gold imported through other countries was included. Once gold is refined, it becomes extremely difficult to track its final destination, making it challenging to accurately determine the full extent of African gold imports.

“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, said.

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