FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

New Report Shows Corporations and Western Governments Continue to Profit from Looting of Africa

A recent report published by a coalition of African and British social justice organizations lays bare the truth that foreign corporations and wealthy governments continue to profit from the looting of the world’s most impoverished continent.

In 2015, the year the most recent data is available, African nations received $162 billion in aid, loans, and remittances. At the same time, $203 billion was taken from these nations through resource extraction, debt payments, and illegal logging and fishing.

“We find that the countries of Africa are collectively net creditors to the rest of the world, to the tune of $41.3 billion in 2015,” explain authors of the report, titled How the World Profits from Africa’s Wealth.

“There’s such a powerful narrative in Western societies that Africa is poor and that it needs our help,” explained Aisha Dodwell, a campaigner with Global Justice Now, one of the organizations that authored the report.

“This research shows that what African countries really need is for the rest of the world to stop systematically looting them,” Dodwell said. “While the form of colonial plunder may have changed over time, its basic nature remains unchanged.”

For example, over half of the population of Africa lacks access to sufficient healthcare, with an average of only 14 health professionals for every 100,000 people.

However, Africa’s wealth underground is extensive. In 2015, African nations exported some $232 billion worth of minerals and oil to the rest of the world, South Africa contains an estimated $2.5 trillion in mineral wealth, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) holds an estimated $24 trillion in untapped mineral reserves.

Yet the poverty above ground persists, with 95% of the population in the DRC living on less than US $2 dollars per day.

The problem is that foreign companies profit the most from this resource extraction.

“Money is leaving Africa partly because Africa’s wealth of natural resources is simply owned and exploited by foreign, private corporations,” the report explains. “In only a minority of foreign investments do African governments have a shareholding.”

Furthermore, when multinational companies do extract and export raw commodities, they typically pay very little taxes to the government, or they use tax havens to avoid paying taxes.

“Many African tax policies are the result of long standing policies of Western governments insisting on Africa lowering taxes to attract investment,” the report found.

The report shows how the current model of development is futile while such plundering of the continent persists.

“’Development’ is a lost cause in Africa while we are hemorrhaging billions every year to extractive industries, western tax havens and illegal logging and fishing,” said Bernard Adaba, a policy analyst with Integrated Social Development Center, a research and advocacy organization in Ghana.

“Some serious structural changes need to be made to promote economic policies that enable African countries to best serve the needs of their people rather than simply being cash cows for Western corporations and governments,” Adaba explained. “The bleeding of Africa must stop!”

As the Guyanese scholar and activist Walter Rodney wrote in his classic 1972 book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, the root of the problem is global capitalism.

“African development,” Rodney wrote, “is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of underdevelopment of Africa over the last five centuries.”

More articles by:

Benjamin Dangl has a PhD in history from McGill University and is the editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events.

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail