African gold smuggling “is growing” according to a Swiss NGO – 05/30/2024 at 00:07

African gold smuggling “is growing” according to a Swiss NGO – 05/30/2024 at 00:07
African gold smuggling “is growing” according to a Swiss NGO – 05/30/2024 at 00:07

Several hundred tonnes of gold leave the African continent for Dubai each year, without having been declared, before being legally re-exported to other countries (AFP / LUIS TATO)

Several hundred tonnes of gold leave the African continent for Dubai each year, without having been declared, before being legally re-exported to other countries, denounces the Swiss NGO Swissaid in a report published Thursday.

In this report, entitled “On the trail of African gold”, Swissaid affirms that “between 321 and 474 tonnes of artisanal gold” are exported every year “smuggled” from Africa, representing “between 24 and 35 billions of dollars”.

According to the NGO, the phenomenon of African gold smuggling is growing since it has “more than doubled between 2012 and 2022”.

Africa is the world’s leading gold-producing continent, with Ghana, South Africa, Mali and Burkina Faso leading production.

Gold plays a decisive role in African economies, both “Source of income for millions of artisanal miners”, “main Source of revenue for many States”, but also “financing tool for armed groups” and ” cause of serious violations of human rights and environmental degradation,” points out Swissaid.

The NGO highlights the role of Dubai, “international hub of the gold trade” from which “African gold goes to different countries” including Switzerland.

The NGO estimates that in 2022, more than “66% of gold imported into the United Arab Emirates from Africa was smuggled out of African countries”.

The gold arrives by plane in Dubai, “in hand luggage or in the hold, on scheduled flights or by private jet”.

The city, nicknamed “City of Gold”, is home to numerous gold refineries and several thousand traders in metals and precious stones.

From there, African gold is sent mainly to Switzerland, “the second largest country importing African gold after the Emirates”, but also to India.

Swiss legislation makes the last place of gold processing its place of origin, so that gold arriving in Switzerland is not traced as coming from Africa, the report explains.

The Swissaid study covers a period of eleven years, from 2012 to 2022, based on statistical data collected from 54 African countries, notably by crossing gold production data and those of official exports and imports.

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