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Uganda gold exports jump more than 10-fold in 2023, says central bank

19th March 2024

By: Reuters

  

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Uganda's gold exports surged more than ten-fold in 2023 despite US sanctions on a major processor in the East African country, data from the central bank showed on Tuesday.

Uganda, which has emerged as a major hub of gold trade in the region, exported gold worth $2.3-billion in 2023, compared with $201-million over the previous 12 months, Bank of Uganda data showed.

The huge increase was likely driven by exports from some new processors including a Chinese plant, Wagagai Mining, in eastern Uganda, said Stephen Turyahikayo, who researches the mining sector in the Great Lakes region.

"It was likely a result of the new capacity from that Chinese plant and possibly smaller others," he told Reuters.

Exporters have also been taking advantage of a suspension of tariffs on gold exports last year, said an official from the ministry of energy and mineral development who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak publicly.

In 2022, the US imposed sanctions on Belgian businessman Alain Goetz and a network of companies connected to him, including African Gold Refinery, one of Uganda's biggest gold refiners.

The US accused Goetz of being involved in the illicit movement of gold from Democratic Republic of Congo. Goetz denied the accusation.

Edited by Reuters

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