google.com, pub-3787448768440954, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 [google-translator]
LocalNews

‘Zim a top 5 gold smuggler’

“Some of the gold imported into the UAE between 2012 and 2022 was declared for export in an African transit country, but was not declared at the production stage or for export in the country in which it was mined ... Some of the African gold imported into the UAE between 2012 and 2022 was incorrectly declared for export. In some cases, it was the value of the gold that was under-declared.”

ZIMBABWE is one of the top five African countries reportedly smuggling gold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a new report shows.

The report, titled On the Trail of African Gold: Quantifying Production and Trade to Combat Illicit Flows, was released by SWISSAID last week and looks at how Africa “is the world’s main gold-producing continent” and “how the yellow metal plays an immense and contrasting role there”.

“It (Gold) is, among others, a source of income for millions of artisanal miners, the main source of revenue for many governments, a means of financing armed groups and the cause of serious human rights violations and environmental degradation.

“In recent years, the sharprise in the price of gold and the subsequent gold rushes in many countries have only increased the socio-economic impact of this sector on the African continent,” said SWISSAID, an aid, advocacy and development group based in Switzerland.

The report, released with the hope of strengthening governments and industry actors’ commitment to a more responsible gold sector, showed that in 2022 about 24 000kg of gold produced by artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) were declared against an estimated 78 000kg that went undeclared.

Of the 41 countries on the continent that were observed, Zimbabwe only came second to Mali.

But in the Sadc region, statistics showed that Zimbabwe led the pack on undeclared gold, with South Africa coming second at about 25 000kg.

In 2022, the UAE was the biggest importer of gold from Africa, snapping up 47% of the gold (609 031kg), with Switzerland coming second after importing 267 535kg (21%), then India (162 364kg: 12%), China (158 871kg: 12%) and others (45 302kg: 3%).

The report further showed that the UAE was under-declaring import statistics, with the destination country saying it received about 350 000kg of gold from Zimbabwe, while the southern African nation reported having exported.

“Ghana was Africa’s largest gold producer in 2022, followed by Mali and South Africa. Ten countries produced more than 50 tonnes of gold that year. And in more than 15 countries, undeclared ASM gold production exceeded total declared gold production,” the SWISSAID report stated.

Zimbabwe was fourth in terms of countries producing more than 50 tonnes.

“Africa’s ASM gold production is greater than its industrial gold production if the high end of the range of estimates of undeclared ASM gold production calculated by SWISSAID is used as a reference. In other words, more than half of Africa’s gold comes from ASM. This demonstrates the considerable scale of this sector on a continental scale. On a national scale, ASM gold production also exceeds industrial gold production in several African countries, including Niger, Sudan, Nigeria and Zimbabwe,” SWISSAID said.

Zimbabwe declared 35 591kg in gold exports in 2022.

“Gold smuggling between Africa and the UAE is actually even greater than the discrepancies between exports and imports calculated by SWISSAID (i.e. 2 569 tonnes of gold in total over the period 2012–2022 and 405 tonnes of gold in 2022) suggest. This is because some of the gold that appears in the export statistics of African countries was not declared when it was first exported or was under-declared,” read the report.

“Some of the gold imported into the UAE between 2012 and 2022 was declared for export in an African transit country, but was not declared at the production stage or for export in the country in which it was mined … Some of the African gold imported into the UAE between 2012 and 2022 was incorrectly declared for export. In some cases, it was the value of the gold that was under-declared.”

It added: “Several African government agencies and senior officials have publicly acknowledged the existence and problematic nature of the smuggling of gold out of Africa that is headed for the UAE … A Bloomberg article claims that authorities in Sudan, Nigeria, DRC [the Democratic Republic of Congo], Zimbabwe, Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso, CAR [Central African Republic] and Niger ‘complain that tonnes of gold leaks across their borders each year, and they allege most of it heads to Dubai’.”

In order to better control the flow of gold leaving their countries, the authorities of several African countries have signed agreements with their Emirati counterparts, SWISSAID said.

“The UAE is the main destination for the vast majority of ASM gold mined in the 18 African countries on the Indicative, non-exhaustive list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas under Regulation (EU) 2017/821.99 The countries in question are: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, CAR, DRC, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. Some of the gold from these countries is imported directly into the UAE, and some first transits through a neighbouring country,” the report further read.

“In detail, in 2022, the Emirati authorities were the only ones to report gold imports from Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan to UN Comtrade. More than 95% of ASM gold from Mozambique, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Cameroon, Nigeria and Zimbabwe declared on import into non-African countries was imported into the UAE. Some of the gold from these countries was smuggled to neighbouring countries [from Sudan to Chad and Egypt, from Nigeria to Niger and from Zimbabwe to South Africa], but the majority of ASM gold exported from these neighbouring countries was imported into the UAE [100% for Chad, 95% for Egypt and 96% for Niger].

“The Zimbabwean gold smuggled into South Africa is difficult to trace, but it is quite possible that some of it ended up in the UAE imports from South Africa, according to a player in the Emirati gold sector interviewed by SWISSAID.”

The report showed that Zimbabwe made minuscule deliveries to Switzerland and did not send anything to India or other countries such as Turkey, Canada, Australia, Lebanon or China.

SWISSAID said when analysing the data available publicly or obtained from State authorities, the authors of the study discovered many problems, whereby some of the data was erroneous or unrealistic; incomplete (for example, when certain years are missing, when weights have been indicated, but not commercial values, or vice versa, or when part of the national territory has not been taken into account; imprecise (for example when groups of countries are designated as destination countries); unreliable (for example, with estimates of ASM gold production are based on questionable methods or with data on a country’s gold exports that are an exact copy of the data on gold imports from that country published by the partner countries) and inconsistent.

Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando and permanent secretary Pfungwa Kunaka did not answer their mobile phones, while deputy minister Polite Kambamura’s mobile phone was unreachable. – (Newsday)

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
google.com, pub-3787448768440954, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0