The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has produced this report saying that artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector in the regions is governed by increasingly comprehensive legal and regulatory frameworks, and is reliant on transnational supply chains that connect rural mining operations to international gold hubs. However, the increase in illicit activities in gold-rich markets has undermined the potential for this precious commodity to be a catalyst for development in these regional African markets. It is said that the gold trade draws criminal actors owing to its high-return, low-risk nature (especially when compared to the trade in other commodities, both licit and illicit). The inherent characteristics of gold (such as anonymity, ease of movement and global fungibility) attract illicit actors to the gold sector, who then exploit vulnerabilities in the system. Criminal and corrupt actors will use corruption and violence, as well as financial levers to profit from and control the trade. As a result, informal mining operators struggle to comply with regulatory demands and are increasingly reliant on criminal actors who aggressively seek to maximize profits from illicit gold markets. Analysis of various factors that shape illicit gold markets in East and Southern Africa provides insight into the stability or instability of markets and linkages between various marketplaces. South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe were selected for field research, with some limited research conducted in South Africa.
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