In recent years, the United Arab Emirates has positioned itself as one of the world’s fastest developing gold trading hubs. While its economy has always been underpinned by oil, tourism and real estate and property, gold has now become one of the largest exports for the emirate state of Dubai.
Dubai’s mission to future-proof life after oil may not be to everyone’s taste, but it has to be admired. Millions of travellers flock there each year to admire its marvels: the world’s tallest skyscraper, vast shopping malls, gold souks and so forth. They approve of the state’s ability to twist, pivot and dazzle. The performances are faultless. Dubai is tenacious, innovative and daring. But at what cost?
The UAE’s rapid rise up the global gold import rankings to fourth (trailing Switzerland, China and India) has ostensibly been accomplished by imposing minimal restrictions on imports. Often little or no proof of origin is required, and no questions are asked as to whether taxes have been paid to countries that have produced the imported merchandise. Mali is one of these countries, Africa’s fourth-largest producer of gold.
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