Illicit Gold Trading Remains a Major Issue in Parts of Africa

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Illicit gold trading remains a pressing problem in various African nations. A recent report by IMPACT confirms this activity is still taking place today. Cleaning up the sector remains an ongoing struggle. 

Africa and Illicit Gold Trading

It is not too surprising to learn that some people will go to great lengths to make money and survive. In Africa, surviving is a lot more difficult than most places on earth. This ongoing fight to live another day makes people desperate for money. As such, they will often ignore potential consequences, either for better or worse.

A new report by IMPACT shows that illicit gold trading remains prominent in some African nations. Primarily the DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda see plenty of activity in this segment. This is despite the United Nations pointing out these regions need to curb this illicit trading as quickly as possible. 

In the DCR, for example, traders and exports will earn a lot of money from gold smuggling. It is an unfair and unsavory business model, but one that often finds its niche. People dealing with financial hardship are prone to becoming a gold mule.  

Introducing responsible artisanal gold trade in the DRC has been attempted, albeit without much success. Not every dealer engages in the shadow economy. However, those that do are happy with orchestrating behind the scenes. Removing shady intermediaries from the equation will require a lot more effort. 

It’s not Just About Smuggling

Contrary to what some people may think, the smuggling of gold is only part of the problem. Other factors to consider include criminality, money laundering, abuse of human rights, and so forth. Particularly in the DCR, the amount of gold produced to be exported legally remains alarmingly low. 

Moreover, Rwanda is becoming a major hub of illicit gold trading. Bullion from DRC’s South Kivu mine is moved across the border, and laundered into the international supply chain. In nearly all cases, the bullion is passed on as “Rwandan gold” to Dubai and other Middle Eastern markets. 

The big question is how this situation can be addressed properly. In the DRC, there are still numerous militia groups trying to seize control. Illicit gold trading is a source of revenue for these organizations. As such, it seems unlikely that this activity will come to an end in the near future. 

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