For Sudanese, the best wishes for a Happy New Year arrived on 2 January 2023. Engineer Alaeldin Ali, the Director of the country’s General Administration for Supervision and Control of Production Companies announced the good news: gold production in Sudan in 2022 was the highest in Sudan’s history, 18 tons and 637 kilograms recorded. That is one ton and 611 kilograms above the previous record established in 2019.
The war in Ukraine and an international movement to replace the U.S. dollar as the dominant world reserve currency have lifted the price of gold. Thus, in Sudan, eagerly seeking fortune, over 3 million people rushed to find or trade gold.
Now, the government lacks the means to monitor, let alone control those millions of persons’ activities. Sudanese gold is smuggled out of the country? What quantities? Nobody knows exactly. Around 50%, even 80% according to some estimates. That is a colossal loss for the country’s treasury. A loss that harms the country doubly: financially and humanly. The human cost is the frequent wars that gold smugglers finance.
In March 2022, to fight the smuggling, the Sudanese Central Bank issued a circular that banned the export of gold by government agencies, individuals, in particular foreigners, and firms, except duly registered mining ones. The circular also restricted the Central Bank’s possibility to acquire gold with the aim to increase its reserves….