Permanent Black Man
Europe & Others Steal over $203 Billion From Africa YearlyAfrica is not poor. Whilst many people in African countries live in poverty, the continent has considerable wealth. A key problem is that the rest of the world, particularly Western countries, are extracting far more than they send back. Meanwhile, they are pushing economic models that fuel poverty and inequality, often in alliance with African elites. Africa is generating large amounts of wealth and, in some ways, is booming. For example, the largest 500 African companies recorded a combined turnover of $698 billion in 2014.
In 2015, countries in Africa exported $232 billion worth of minerals and oil to the rest of the world. The value of mineral reserves in the ground is of course even larger - South Africa’s potential mineral wealth is estimated to be around $2.5 trillion while the untapped mineral reserves of the Democratic Republic of Congo are estimated to be worth an astronomical $24 trillion.
These are very large numbers but various reasons explain why the majority of people in Africa do not benefit from them, and why the present mode of minerals extraction actually leads to impoverishment.
...Money is leaving Africa partly because Africa’s wealth of natural resources is simply owned and exploited by foreign, private corporations. In only a minority of foreign investments do African governments have a shareholding; even if they do this tends to be small, usually around 5-20%. A recent report for War on Want found that 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control an identified $1.05 trillion worth of resources in Africa in just five commodities – oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. These 101 companies have mineral operations in 37 African countries and are mainly British, with 59 incorporated in the UK. However, some 25 of the 101 LSE-listed companies are incorporated in tax havens, principally the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey and Jersey.
The key task is to dismantle the system extracting wealth from Africa. This requires action by African civil society organizations to press for change in their countries, and action by civil society organizations in the countries that are enabling this wealth extraction to take place, such as the UK.
Global elites have no intrinsic interest in changing a system that benefits them. It is critical for civil society organizations to expose the role of multinational corporations and Northern governments in impoverishing Africa and to step up their work in building coalitions to end tax dodging and other unfair resource transfers out of Africa.