Uganda: Sudden disappearance of gold exports hits the economy

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Monday, 21 March 2022 14:55

A worker places ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold on 28 March 2011. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin
A worker places ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold on 28 March 2011. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin

Uganda’s status as a prominent gold exporter, albeit with no large gold deposits, came to a sudden end in June 2020 when the government introduced a new tax on the precious metal. However, authorities still hope to attract large volumes of gold back into the country.

The country’s gold export boom, which started around 2015, coincided with the opening of Africa Gold Refinery, the largest gold refinery in East Africa, located less than a kilometre from Entebbe International Airport in Entebbe city.

The end of the gold export boom also coincided with the reported quiet departure of Alain Goetz, the Belgian businessman who sold 99% of the shares he owned in the refinery, but stayed around, according to documents obtained by The Africa Report from Uganda Registration Service Bureau. Goetz had brought gold into Uganda from as far as South America.