Gold

Illicit Flows to the UAE Take the Shine off African Gold

In recent years, gold has replaced cotton as Mali’s leading export. But each year, large quantities of Mali’s gold escape the country through illicit flows. Its primary destination: the UAE. Tracing a route from Bamako to Dubai, Bruce Whitehouse invites us to follow the flow of this precious metal that connects West Africa to the Persian Gulf. The gold that goes through Mali moves in ways that serve the interests of elites, at the expense of artisanal miners’ livelihoods, natural resources and state authority. What does its movement mean for Mali’s future? Will the flow of gold along the periphery of the Sahara-Sahel region bring prosperity or precarity?

Illicit Flows to the UAE Take the Shine off African Gold

Bruce Whitehouse 01.18.2023

In recent years, gold has replaced cotton as Mali’s leading export. But each year, large quantities of Mali’s gold escape the country through illicit flows. Its primary destination: the UAE. Tracing a route from Bamako to Dubai, Bruce Whitehouse invites us to follow the flow of this precious metal that connects West Africa to the Persian Gulf. The gold that goes through Mali moves in ways that serve the interests of elites, at the expense of artisanal miners’ livelihoods, natural resources and state authority. What does its movement mean for Mali’s future? Will the flow of gold along the periphery of the Sahara-Sahel region bring prosperity or precarity?

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