According to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol, black market smuggling of charcoal across Africa causes losses up to $9 Billion a year across the continent, with governments losing at least $1.9 Billion in tax revenue. The value of the illegal charcoal trade in Africa is reportedly three times the amount of the continent’s illegal drug trade.
Security and intelligence agencies believe that terrorist groups, militias and organized crime syndicates earn up to $289 Million from the illegal charcoal sale. By comparison, the groups make about $12 Million a year from black market ivory sales.
Al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia, is believed to earn between $38 Million to $68 Million from black market charcoal sales and taxation per year.
Source: Hannah McNeish, “$213bn illegal wildlife and charcoal trade ‘funding global terror groups’,” Guardian, June 24, 2014.