Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) in eastern and southern Africa provides economic opportunities to a wide range of actors that cuts across the formal, informal and illicit spheres.

ASGM can involve everything from highly vulnerable individuals panning for gold on a subsistence basis to small-scale, semi-industrial operations illegally generating millions of dollars’ worth of gold. Regardless of the form, the vast majority of ASGM is linked to illicit gold markets exploited by criminal actors. The result is ‘a tightly interwoven web of livelihoods, social networks and competition for power and wealth’.

This policy guidance, a follow-on from the 2021 report ‘Illicit gold markets in East and southern Africa’, is intended to be a tool for those who wish to intervene or engage with the ASGM sector and illicit gold markets, including policymakers, government agents, development interventions, civil society, and businesses. Although this policy guidance is designed for eastern and southern Africa, it can be adapted for other regions.