$35 billion worth of gold from African countries smuggled to UAE


Africa is losing billions of dollars annually in gold smuggling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a new report by SwissAid, a non-governmental organization, has revealed.

According to the report,  the gold are mainly smuggled to UAE from Ghana, Mali, and Zimbabwe.

SwissAid says it carried out its investigation using data on declared and undeclared gold imports over 10-year period ending in 2022, estimating that illegal gold trade amounts to between $23.7 billion and $35 billion annually based on current market prices.

The report says in 2022 alone, over 435 tons of bullion was smuggled out of Africa.

Majority of the gold were smuggled from Mali, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

SwissAid alleged that revenue from the smuggled gold fuels conflict, finances criminal and terrorist networks, undermines democracy and facilitates money laundering.

It added that the gold are from 12 African countries, with most of the informal trade coming from Mali, Ghana and Zimbabwe. An estimated $115.3-billion worth of bullion entered the UAE in the decade following 2012, says SwissAid.

It added that the UAE has taken “significant steps to address concerns around gold smuggling, recognizing the risks posed by such activities,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an emailed response to a request for comment. For example, the UAE authorities have seen suspicious activity reports relating to the gold sector increase to 6,432 last year from 223 in 2021, it said.



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