Hundreds of tons of gold, worth tens of billions of dollars at its current price, are being smuggled from the African continent to Dubai, before being legally exported to other countries, the Swiss non-governmental organization SWISSAID claims in a report released today.

In its report, which it titled “On the Tracks of African Gold”, the organization underlines that “from 321 to 474 tons of gold” are “smuggled” from the continent every year, in other words, this smuggling has a turnover ranging from “24 to 35 billion dollars”.

According to SWISSAID, the phenomenon of African gold smuggling is growing: “more than doubled between 2012 and 2022”.

Africa produces the largest amount of gold in the world, with Ghana, South Africa, Mali and Burkina Faso at the top of the rankings based on the quantities mined.

Gold plays a key role for African economies: it is “a source of income for millions of small miners”, “a key source of revenue for many states”, but also “a financing tool for armed organizations” and “a cause of serious human rights violations and environmental pollution”, he underlines. the NGO.

SWISSAID strongly criticizes the role of Dubai, an “international hub of the gold trade”, through which “African gold takes the lead to various countries”, including Switzerland.

The NGO calculates that in 2022, over “66% of the gold imported into the UAE from Africa was smuggled out of African countries”.

The gold arrives by air in Dubai, “in hand luggage or parcels”, by “airlines or private jets”.

Nicknamed the City of Gold, Dubai is home to many gold refiners and dealers in precious metals and gemstones.

From there, African gold is sent to Switzerland, the “second largest importer of African gold after the UAE”, as well as India.

Under Swiss law, the place where the gold was mined is considered its place of origin, so the quantities of the precious metal arriving in Switzerland from Dubai are not classified as African, the report explained.

SWISSAID’s study covers an eleven-year period (2012-2022), based on data it collected in 54 African countries and the cross-referencing of official data on gold production and exports and imports.

According to her analysis, 435 tons of gold, worth more than $30 billion, was smuggled out of Africa in 2022 alone.

The price of gold in international markets has doubled since 2009.