Africa: The Scale of the UK's Involvement in Africa's Resources Is Staggering

14 September 2016 - 2:15pm
War on Want in the news

Africa's natural resources are being appropriated by foreign private interests who are leaving a devastating trail of social, environmental and human rights abuses in their wake.

Over the past few decades, there has been a new scramble for African resources as foreign governments and companies have sought to control the continent's reserves of minerals, oil and gas.

As documented in 'The New Colonialism: Britain's scramble for Africa's energy and mineral resources', a new War on Want report, 101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) now have mining operations in Africa - and combined, they control resources worth in excess of $1 trillion.

As in the colonial period, the UK government has used its power and influence to ensure these British mining companies have access to Africa's raw materials, though it is not alone. Much of the Global North takes advantage of a global economic system - made up of regional, bilateral and international trade agreements - that opens up countries in the Global South for exploitation.

Under the guise of helping Africa in its economic development - a mere continuation of the colonial paternal narrative - $134 billion reportedly flows into the continent each year in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid. But at the same time, an estimated $192 billion is extracted from Africa mainly in the form of profits by foreign companies, tax dodging, and the costs of adapting to climate change.

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Tom Lebert is Senior Programmes Officer for Africa. This article was carried by African Arguments, picked up by All Africa. 

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