Illicit Financial Flows in Zimbabwe's Artisanal Mining Sector

Zimbabwe is severely affected by the problem of illicit financial flows (IFF) in the extractives industry. The artisanal mining sector is one of the worst affected sectors. Artisanal mining is a mostly povertydriven, rural activity which has debilitating environmental impacts. Due to the criminalization of the artisanal mining sector, it has become the norm that artisanal miners operate clandestinely, avoid selling their products to the state and do not contribute to the fiscus through taxation like other economic sectors. The formalization of this sector should be the first step towards reducing illicit financial flows. Whilst government has vigorously pursued the indigenization agenda since 2007, particularly in the extractive sector, the empowerment drive has left out the artisanal mining sector whose activities continue to be criminalized. However, true indigenization should empower the poor and vulnerable groups of society such as the artisanal mining sector. Further, rather than spending resources in fighting the losing battle of trying to stop the practice of artisanal mining, government should start developing policy, institutional and legislative tools to regulate the artisanal mining sector as a way of creating employment and generating revenues. It is also essential for government to create conducive working conditions for women in the artisanal mining sector.