Monday, April 1, 2024

How Gold Fuels the War in Sudan

 Chatham House posted on 15 March 2024 a 35-minute podcast titled "How Gold Fuels the War in Sudan" with Ahmed Soliman, Suliman Baldo, and Denise Sprimont-Vasquez.  

Military business networks controlled by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are financing much of the cost of war in Sudan, which is the third largest gold producer in Africa after Ghana and South Africa.  An estimated 50 to 80 percent of gold production is smuggled out of Sudan illegally.  It is a critical source of income for both the RSF and SAF.  Neither oil nor gum Arabic, once important foreign exchange earners for Sudan, are significant income sources today.

The RSF controls gold produced at a half dozen locations in Darfur.  Most of the gold smuggled by the RSF through the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya ends up in the UAE for refining.  Some of it is smuggled out by Russia's Wagner Group.  

The SAF exports its gold through Port Sudan and most of it goes to Egypt.  Before the conflict between the RSF and the SAF, Sudan's gold tended to be handled by the Wagner Group.