North Korea’s Diplomats in Africa Are Making Big Money Selling Ivory to Chinese Consumers

A China in Africa Podcast

The tightening of international sanctions against North Korea is helping to fuel the illicit ivory trade in Africa as the increasingly isolated country searches for new ways to generate revenue, according to a new report from the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. Much of that ivory, according to the report, is destined for the black market in China.

Although China announced in January that it would outlaw the domestic ivory trade, consumer demand appears to remain strong as the wholesale price for raw ivory hovers around $1,100 per kilo.

North Korea’s role in the African ivory trade is largely confined to “buying and bagging,” said Julian Rademeyer, the report’s author and an acclaimed South African environmental investigative journalist. North Korean officials, he added, are often able to easily move their illegal contraband as diplomatic cargo so it usually goes unchecked by local customs authorities.

Rademeyer joins Eric and Cobus to discuss his findings on North Korea’s role in the illegal ivory trade between China and Africa.