Working Paper
Indicators of illicit activities in gold supply chains

Insights from Peru and Kenya

Illicit gold flows constitute a major development challenge for governments and a social responsibility challenge for the jewellery industry, which accounts for the majority of global gold demand. This paper highlights aspects of gold supply chains that lack transparency and may indicate junctures where illicit activities are taking place, resulting in a loss of tax and customs revenues.

Using Peru and Kenya as case study countries, we draw from United Nations Comtrade data and qualitative data from field research to examine the magnitude of the gold trade, the forms in which gold is traded, and key trade partners for each country.

We suggest that midstream portions of gold supply chains should be given more attention, certain types of gold exports and imports present greater traceability challenges than others, and some countries play a much more significant role in the global jewellery trade. We propose areas where further investigations may be warranted to ensure more transparent and responsible gold supply chains.