• SENSEX
    NIFTY 50
Economy

Gold worth billions smuggled out of Africa

Updated : 2019-04-24 12:44:55

Billions of dollars' worth of gold are being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond – a Reuters analysis has found.

Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006.

Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Five trade economists interviewed by Reuters said this indicates large amounts of gold are leaving Africa with no taxes being paid to the states that produce them.

Previous reports and studies have highlighted the black-market trade in gold mined by people, including children, who have no ties to big business, and dig or pan for it with little official oversight. No-one can put an exact figure on the total value that is leaving Africa. But the Reuters analysis gives an estimate of the scale.

Reuters assessed the volume of the illicit trade by comparing total imports into the UAE with the exports declared by African states. Industrial mining firms in Africa told Reuters they did not send their gold to the UAE – indicating that it's gold imports from Africa come from other, informal sources.

General view of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Files
General view of Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Files
An artisanal miner pan for gold using a plastic wash basin and metal pan at an unlicensed mine near the city of Doropo, Ivory Coast, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal miner pan for gold using a plastic wash basin and metal pan at an unlicensed mine near the city of Doropo, Ivory Coast, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner picks up a gold nugget at an unlicensed mine in Gaoua, Burkina Faso, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner picks up a gold nugget at an unlicensed mine in Gaoua, Burkina Faso, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
Artisanal miners sluice for gold by pouring water through the gravel at an unlicensed mine near the city of Doropo, Ivory Coast, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
Artisanal miners sluice for gold by pouring water through the gravel at an unlicensed mine near the city of Doropo, Ivory Coast, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner holds a gold nugget at an unlicensed mine in Gaoua, Burkina Faso, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner holds a gold nugget at an unlicensed mine in Gaoua, Burkina Faso, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner emerges from a pit at an unlicensed mine near the city of Bouna, Ivory Coast, February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
An artisanal gold miner emerges from a pit at an unlicensed mine near the city of Bouna, Ivory Coast, February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/Files
Live TV

Ask Our Experts CNBC TV18