A new Treasury report has shown Zimbabwe’s exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stood at nearly US$552 million during the fourth quarter of 2022, as authorities downplayed gold trades between the two countries.
According to the fourth quarter Treasury Bulletin, UAE emerged as Zimbabwe’s second largest export destination during the period under review after South Africa.
The value of exports to South Africa during the period under review stood at US$785 million. In total exports worth US$1,8 billion were realised during the quarter.
Treasury said the exports were driven transport equipment and capital goods instead of gold. UAE is at the centre of a gold smuggling and money laundering activities which includes complex syndicates and some prominent locals. Despite downplaying gold exports reports from the country’s statistical agency have shown that gold is one of the major exports to the UAE.
Figures recorded in Comtrade, a United Nations trade portal, show that there were substantial differences between the amount of gold that African states said they were exporting, and the much bigger amounts that arrived in the UAE.
“Exports were mainly driven by transport equipment, capital goods and consumer goods which increased by 77.9%, 29.9% and 24.3% respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2022 whilst food and beverages exports declined by 54.9%,” the Treasury Bulletin reads.
“The country’s exports were mainly destined for South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, Belgium, Mozambique and Zambia absorbing 43.4%, 30.5% 6.1%, 5.2%, 2.2% and 1.9% respectively.
“Similarly, merchandise imports increased by 2.2% to US$2.3 billion from US$2.25 billion realised during the third quarter. Imports rose by 6.5% from US$2.2 billion when compared to the same period in 2021.”
The country exported goods worth US$1.8 billion during the fourth quarter of 2022, a 3.6% increase from US$1.6 billion exported during the third quarter 2022. When comparing to the same period last year, it shows a 2% increase from US$1.7 billion in 2021.
Imports were largely driven by capital goods, fuel and lubricants and industrial supplies 22.5%, 7.5% and 6.8%, respectively. On the contrary, other miscellaneous goods declined by 55% and transport equipment by 17.9% compared to the previous quarter.
In 2017, Africa became the world’s largest gold supplier. But far from being a windfall for the countries whose soil contains the yellow metal, this, according to experts has mainly benefited those involved in smuggling and organised crime.