Gold worth billions of dollars smuggled out of Africa every year

An analysis done by press agency Reuters reveal gold worth billions of dollars are being smuggled every year out of Africa through the UAE channel in Middle East to reach European, American and other markets.

According to data from customs department the UAE imported from Africa gold worth of $15.1 billion in 2016 and the figure is more than any other country.

The data further reveals the volume was up from $1.3 billion in 2006 and the total weight was 446 tonnes, up from 67 tonnes in 2006.

More to this, it is found much of the gold was exported without records to evade taxes to be paid to the producing countries.

Earlier similar report found gold in huge volume has been leaving Africa, but this is the first time a study has estimated a figure.

In recent years illicit gold trade has been expanding and globally small-scale mining are growing rapidly. Such practice has provided a livelihood to millions of people in the continent and some of the traders have managed making more money than they would have ever dreamt.

Countries like Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana have regularly complained gold has been illegally produced and smuggled out and sometimes through criminal operations.

However, not everyone in the chain is breaking laws. Some of the miners are working legally and selling the gold to middlemen, who smuggle out directly out of Africa and often in hand luggage.

Countries like Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is a major producer of gold in the continent, argues it has little leverage to stop the smuggling.

Paul Linus