The development potential of the African artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector is undermined by criminal consortia across the continent who exploit it for economic and political ends at the expense of vulnerable populations. Yet, much of the discourse around ASGM in Africa has not directly addressed criminality, instead being framed within development or conflict frameworks. In an effort to fill this gap, this report seeks to unpack how criminal consortia manipulate ASGM and associated gold flows to secure illicit rents and capture the sector. The findings highlight the need for nuance, especially regarding the role of informal and traditional actors in the sector. Through a more holistic understanding of the challenge, policymakers will better be able to identify and combat criminal consortia in ASGM.

Research Paper: Combating criminal consortia in the African artisanal and small-scale gold mining and trade sector (Marcena Hunter)

Download PDF

Policy Brief: The dark world of the Zama Zamas (Alan Martin)

Download PDF
Share this article


Marcena Hunter

Marcena is a Senior Analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, which she has been with since 2012. Marcena provides research for a number of Global Initiatives projects, analysing a diverse range of organized crime flows, including illicit financial flows, and developing responses. While her work covers a wide scope of material and geographic spread, her current work has focused on gold-related crime and development responses to organized crime. Marcena previously worked with STATT, a boutique global consulting firm, where she analysed migration flows and guided security sector and criminal justice reform. Her past work also includes projects improving access to justice, analysing gender issues, and supporting the Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking at the UNODC. Marcena has a JD from Washington and Lee University, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Denver. She is currently based in Queensland, Australia.

Read more