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Qorannoo Dinagdee: Oromiyaan bara 1950 as dolaara tiriliyoona 3.5 dhabdeetti September 19, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Hayyoota: Oromiyaan bara 1950 as dolaara tiriliyoona 3.5 dhabdeetti

BBC Afaan Oromoo,  Fuulbana 18 Bara 2018

Hayyoonni Oromoo dhimma siyaas-dinagdee uumatichaarratti galma UNECA keessatti
Goodayyaa suuraaHayyoonni Oromoo dhimma siyaas-dinagdee uumatichaarratti galma UNECA keessatti

Imaammamtni siyaas-diinagdee Itoophiyaafi dhabamuun dimokiraasii diinagdee uummata Oromoo cimaa miidhunsaa himame.

Mariin hayyoota Oromoo dhimma diinagdee Itoophiyaa irratti xiyyeefate kaleessa galma diinagdee komishinii Afriikaatti taasifameera.

Dhimma dhaabbilee misoomaa mootummaa kanneen akka baankii daldalaa fi baankii misoomaa Itoophiyaa, Itiyo-Telekom, daandii xayyaaraa Itoophiyaa fi kanneen biroo irratti waraqaa qo’annoo isaanii kan dhiyeessan Doktar Kabbadaa Fedhasaa dhaabbileen kun qabeenya guddaa kan sochoosan ta’ullee gumaachi isaan diinagdee biyyattiif qaban garuu xiqqaa akka ta’e himan.

Baankii addunyaatti ogeessa olaanaa dhimma diinagdee kan ta’an Dr. Kabbadaan gumaachi dhaabbilee gurguddaa kunneenii diinagdee biyyattiif qaban dhibbeentaa 20 qofa jedhan.

Kunis kan biyyaalee biroo walin yeroo madaallamu xiqqaa ta’uusaa himu.

“Qarshiin dhaabbileen kun argatan eessa deema kan jedhu gaafii ijoodha” jechuun Dr Kabbadaa dubbatu.

Gama biraatin “rakkoo hooggansaa irraa kan ka’e qabeenyi naannoon Oromiyaa irraa fayyadamuu dandeessuu faayyidaara ooluu dhiisu isaatin fi humni nama baratee sababa siyaasaan biyyattidhaa godaanaa turuunsaa naannoon Oromiyaa bara 1950 hanga ammaatti qabeenya dollaara triliyoona 3.5 akka dhabdu taasiseera” jedhu.

Dr. Kabbadaan “haalli amma jiru yoo jijjiirame malee qabeenyi naannoon Oromiyaa dhabdu kun bara 2050ti gara triliyoona 8.2tti ni guddata” jedhan.

Dhimma Lafaa

Yunivarsiitii Minisootaatti barsiisaa ikonomiksii kan ta’an proofesar Badhaasaa Taaddasaa imaammatni lafaa biyyatti dhimmoota guddina diinagdee uummata Oromoo cimaa miidhan keessaa tokko akka ta’e qorannoo dhiyeesanin himan.

Uummatni Oromoo mirga abbaa lafummaa dhorkamuunsaa uummatichi lafa isaa irraa akka hin fayyadamne taasiseera jedhan.

Lafti maqaa investimantiidhaan qonnaan bultoota irraa fudhatames miidhaansaa guddaa akka ta’edha kan himan

“Qubeedhaan barachuun Oromummaa keenya hagam akka geeddare ni beekna. Oromoo abbaa lafaa gochuun immoo bu’aa qubee dhaan barachuu caalaa nuf fida” jedhu professor Badhaasaa.

Kanaafis abbummaa lafaa uummata Oromoo mirkaneessuuf wantootni sadi hojjetamuu qabu kan jedhan professor Badhaasaa jalqaba imaammatni lafaa biyyattii bifa mirga abbuummaa lafaa uummatichaa mirkaneessuun jijjiiramuu akka qabu himan.

Itti aansunis eenyu lafa hagamii bifa kamin qabate kan jedhu qoratamuu qaba jedhan.

Dhumarattis namoota abbaa mirgaa ta’anif lafa hiruu fi kunneen beenyaa gahaa malee lafa isaanirraa buqqa’an dhaabbilee investimantii isaan buqqisan irraa akkaataa itti fayyadamuu danda’an mijeessuun akka barbaachisu profeessar Badhaasaa waraqaa qo’annoo dhiyeesanin himan.


Africa and its dictators: 40 years of total control: how Dos Santos shaped Angola December 4, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Uncategorized.
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Angola's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos waits for the arrival of his French counterpart at the presidential palace in Luanda in July 2015
Angola’s President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos waits for the arrival of his French counterpart at the presidential palace in Luanda in July 2015 (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)

Johannesburg (AFP) – Angolans endured a bloody civil war and extreme poverty as for nearly 40 years power rested solely in the hands of autocratic President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

State radio’s announcement on Friday that he will stand down next year appears to be the beginning of the end of one of Africa’s longest reigns, and could open a new chapter for a country largely closed off to the outside world.

When Dos Santos, now 74, became president in 1979, war was already raging between the MPLA government and UNITA rebels, four years after independence from Portugal.

Today, Angola has been at peace only since 2002, and is still deeply scarred by a conflict that became a vicious proxy battleground in the Cold War rivalry of the United States and the Soviet Union.

After fighting eventually ceased, a frenetic oil boom saw skyscrapers sprout up in the centre of the capital Luanda and paid for nationwide infrastructure improvements.

But it left millions of ordinary Angolans living in dire slums, and the collapse in oil prices has triggered a full-scale national economic crisis since 2013.

“In some ways he is the father figure of the nation, widely seen — rightly or wrongly — as the man who ended the war,” Soren Kirk Jensen, an Angola specialist at the London-based Chatham House think tank, told AFP.

“It wasn’t a negotiated peace, it was brutal, but it is hard to see there was any other way.

“There is growing discontent among the educated middle class, who see him as an autocrat, and as a failure due to the economy.

“But in large parts of Angola and especially rural areas, a generation that suffered during the war still view him in a positive light.

“That is his powerful legacy — very long and very mixed.”

– ‘Ruthless oppression’ –

Leading Angolan writer and opposition activist Rafael Marques is scathing in his criticism of Dos Santos and dismisses any suggestion of the president being held in affection.

Marques himself felt the sharp edge of the regime’s intolerance, standing trial twice on defamation charges and given suspended sentences.

“Dos Santos didn’t lead his country out of war — he was a warmonger who ruined his country and ransacked it for his family’s profit,” Marques said, speaking from Luanda.

“He has now run out of money to maintain his patronage system, so he became far more vulnerable to pressure by his party (to stand down).

“After 37 years of power, and after all the oil money, all you see in Angola is a few flash buildings, the misery of the people, corruption, repression and no freedom of expression.

“The most positive thing to happen would be to bring him to justice, but his departure won’t mean the end of the regime.”

Life after Dos Santos is hard to imagine for many Angolans if — as announced — he does not stand in next year’s election.

Though seldom seen in public, he has been a looming presence through the decades, exercising almost total authority over politics, the courts, the security forces, media and business.

His picture often appears on the front page of newspapers, as well as on countless billboards and framed photographs in every office.

“Looking back, he has been an extraordinary, substantial figure who was involved in ruthless oppression of opponents, including within his own party,” Martin Plaut, African analyst and fellow of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, told AFP.

“In some ways, he did bring stability to his country and he is viewed as an ’eminence grise’ by some other African leaders. But he ruled with an iron rod.

NI: One woman’s victory against a mining giant in Peru July 26, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist

‘Violence Against Women Is Linked To Violence Against The Earth.’ NI

‘Because I defend my lakes, they want to take my life.’  Máximasang her story

One woman’s victory against a mining giant in Peru


New Internationalist WEB EXCLUSIVE

Máxima Acuña has just won the Goldman Prize for her resistance against a gold mine – but why are women’s bodies on the frontlines of resistance to extractivism? asks Sian Cowman.

27-04-16-Maxima-Acuna-590.jpg [Related Image]
Máxima Acuña, a farmer from Peru’s northern highlands, recently won the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize. NC under aCreative Commons Licence

Máxima Acuña, a farmer from Peru’s northern highlands, recently won the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her resistance against the mining consortium Yanacocha in Cajamarca, Peru.

At the prize acceptance ceremony in San Francisco on 18 April, in lieu of a speech Máximasang her story: ‘Because I defend my lakes, they want to take my life.’

Goldman Environmental Prize
Máxima Acuña, 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for South and Central America. Goldman Environmental Prize

Yanacocha is the largest gold mine in Latin America and fourth largest in the world, operating since 1993. The mine is now owned by the USNewmont Mining Corporation, a Peruvian mining company, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

Gold mining causes ‘toxic mine drainage’ – when you break up rock that’s been underground for a long time chemical reactions cause it to release toxic metals and acids. And at Yanacocha cyanide-laced water isused to separate the gold from the rock.

Locals have been complaining for years of contaminated water and the disappearance of fish in the rivers, lakes and streams. Reinhard Seifert, an environmental engineer who spent years investigating the effects of the Yanacocha mine on the area’s water quality found traces of lead, arsenic, cyanide and mercury in the drinking water, linked to the rising rates of gastrointestinal cancer amongst residents of Cajamarca.

One Woman’s Story of Resistance

In 2011, Yanacocha bought up lands in Cajamarca in order to expand their operations into a new mine, Conga. Yanacocha claims legal ownership of Máxima’s land while Máxima says she never sold any of her land to the company, and the land deeds bear her name.

Quoted in these pages in 2012, Máxima said: ‘I may be poor. I may be illiterate, but I know that our mountain lakes are our real treasure… Are we expected to sacrifice our water and our land so that the Yanacocha people can take gold back to their country? Are we supposed to sit quietly and just let them poison our land and water?’

The Conga mine had plans to dry up five lakes, including the one that Máxima’s land borders. It became the highest profile environmental conflict in Peru amongst an estimated 200 such conflicts in 2012, with several deaths of defenders at the hands of the police.

In 2012, Yanacocha sued Máxima and her family for alleged illegal occupation of their own land, and the court ruled in Yanacocha’s favour. The judge sentenced four members of the family to suspended jail sentences, which were then overturned in December 2014 with a verdict that saw Máxima victorious against Yanacocha’s claim to her land.

The family had already suffered numerous eviction attempts and physical violence on their property, and after the 2014 verdict things intensified. On 3 February 2015, agents from the Peruvian police special operations division and private security forces destroyed parts of Máxima’s house that were undergoing construction. One year later, and the family was still suffering intimidation: on 5 February 2016 Máxima’s home was again stormed by security forces, this time to destroy her crop of potatoes.

But since then, the company has said ‘We do not anticipate development of Conga for the foreseeable future,’ a statement which has been hailed as a victory for Máxima and those who are resisting Conga.

What Does Extractivism Mean In Latin America?

Sadly, this story is not unique to Cajamarca. Mining for minerals such as gold, silver and copper is common across the continent – Latin America consistently tops the global list for mining exploration, and in 2014 had one of the largest shares of total global exploration budget, at over 26 per cent. Fossil fuel extraction shows a similar picture. In 2011, the Latin American Energy Organization released figures that placed Latin America as the region with the second largest oil reserves after the Middle East, with 20 per cent of global reserves.

This kind of mining and fossil fuel exploitation is referred to as extractivism in Latin American contexts. It is the base of many Latin American neoliberal economies such as in Peru and Colombia. In countries like Ecuador and Bolivia, it’s referred to as neo-extractivism – when government taxes from extractive activities are invested into health and education programs.

But the meaning of extractivism is not just about extraction: it is also about the conditions under which extraction takes place, and in whose interests. In Latin America, the conditions are often situated within a rural and/or indigenous context. This means communities in these areas live principally off the land and are subject to the forces of nature to access water and grow crops, forces of nature that become distorted by extractive activities and ever more sharpened by climate change impacts.

License CC By NC 2.0
A protest against Conga, 2014. License CC By NC 2.0

Why Does Extractivism Affect Women More?

Because of socially assigned gender roles, women are often the principal caregivers of the family – responsible for growing or providing food – in the kinds of community contexts where extractivism usually takes place. And so when water is contaminated and/or scarcer, women feel the negative impacts more. The declaration from the 2014 Gathering of Women against Extractivism and Climate Change in Ecuador said that ‘the impacts of extractive activities alter the cycle of the reproduction of life, whose regeneration falls on the shoulders of women.’ The altering of natural cycles, such as the contamination of water near the Yanacocha mine, manifests as more work in women’s lives.

The impacts of extractivism on women not only include an increased burden to the work women do to provide food and water to their families, but permeate deep into the social fabric of communities. At the gathering on extractivism in Ecuador, women gave testimonies: ‘When the mining and fossil fuel companies come to our territories they cause huge problems, they break the social weave and replace it with conflict in families, division in the communities, and confrontation between us.’

In these situations, the gendered divisions of labour show up in starker relief as men take on jobs in the industry. The local economy now revolves more around the masculinized wage labour in the mine and reduces importance of the shared economy of caring for the practical and emotional needs of the community. The existing gender divide of labour creates power imbalances, worsened by extractivism: as ‘women’s work’ mostly goes unpaid, the waged work in the mine that men can access lends increased power to men’s voices in the community (though they also suffer from extractivism in a dangerous, unhealthy, exploitative workplace).

Extractivism breaks the social fabric of communities in other, more violent, ways. As respected Uruguayan environmental analyst Eduardo Gudynas writes: ‘There is no such thing as neutral or inoffensive extractivism…Violence is always present in one way or another, ending up affecting above all the weakest, the local communities, especially campesino small farmers and indigenous groups.’

The violence permeates the entire community, but affects women particularly because of gender-based violence. Melissa Wong Oveido, a representative of the Latin American Union of Women (ULAM, a regional network of women affected by extractive activities and policies), quoted in El País said:

In Latin America psychological, physical and environmental violence against indigenous, rural and Afro-descendent women on the part of extractive industries is on the rise. Women are dispossessed of their lands; they are victims of sexual abuse and trafficking.

Rising Up In Resistance

With the upswing in extractive projects in Latin America and its negative impacts on local communities there’s been a corresponding rise in socio-environmental conflict on the continent. Resisting extractive projects is a dangerous business, and more land and environmental defenders died in 2014 in Latin America than anywhere else in the world, with 88 out of 114 total recorded deaths.

More and more women are joining and leading resistance movements: and as women, this comes with certain risks linked to their gender. In a comprehensive 2015 report (PDF) on criminalization of women environmental defenders in the Americas, the authors state that:

In all of the cases presented women suffered an attack linked to their gender: rape threats, public shaming linked to sex and sexuality, harassment of several types, and infamies against their honour. These attacks prevent women from developing their activism in surroundings favourable to the rights of people, of territory, and of nature.

It might not be immediately apparent why the intimidation in Máxima’s case is particular to her being a woman. But when women resist extractivism, they become easier targets for retaliation by those in power. For example, they are less likely than men to have the resources to deal with court cases – as Máxima herself has said, she is illiterate. For a woman who doesn’t have the title deed to her land, as Máxima has, the outcome is likely to be dispossession. And much of the intimidation that Máxima has suffered focused on destruction to her home and crops – women’s traditional domain, and Máxima’s source of income.

Violence Against Women Is Linked To Violence Against The Earth

Women feel negative impacts of extractivism more because of their roles as caregivers. But there are more subtleties at play here: why are women obliged to take care of the family, the home, the sick, and children? Similarly, why is the earth obliged to be a provider of ‘environmental services’; to give up its buried riches to profit transnationals? The logic of exploitation of women’s work and of the earth is the same: they are resources to be profited from. The struggles of women to free themselves from the cycle of unpaid labour as caregivers are linked to the struggles to protect the earth from desperate over-exploitation.

There is another subtlety. Extractivism is inherently violent, and tears not only at the earth but at the fabric of whole communities. Women already experience everyday gender-based violence, which is exacerbated by extractivism with impacts such as sexual harassment from migrant workers. But when women resist in their communities, the violence they already face increases: it is used as a tactic against them.

Máxima’s refusal to bow to the intimidation she faces because of her struggle only increased the violence against her. But she, like so many women, is not going to give up the fight. Máxima’s connection to her land underlies her decision to fight the corporation. As she said to El País: ‘I won’t be quiet. I know they’ll come after me and they’re going to disappear me. But on the land I was born and on the land I’ll die.’

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Rich countries rejected an international plan to let the UN help fight tax evasion July 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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???????????Illicit financial outflows from Africa Ethiopia makes among top 10

The rhetoric of #Africa’s economic ‘rise’ does not reflect reality June 19, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising.
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???????????Dounle digit Ethiopia

 Ethiopia Least competetive GCI 002

‘African economies consistently underperform the Southeast Asian average across all the pillars. The most critical gaps continue to be seen in the areas of basic requirements of competitiveness: institutions, infrastructure, and education and skills.19 This is troubling because the majority of African economies are classified as factor-driven economies (see Table 1), so these areas are currently the most critical areas for the competitiveness of these countries. On a more positive note, Africa’s financial, goods, and labor markets function comparatively well (on par, or nearly on par, with Latin America). However, ease of entry and exit from low-wage, low-productivity jobs will not lead to improved competitiveness. It will be important to build upon the region’s comparatively efficient markets by investing in  other competitiveness-enhancing reforms. A particular point of concern is the continent’s weak institutions. Although Africa’s performance is similar to that of Southeast Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean in this pillar, the institutions in all three regions receive scores below 4 out of 7. This suggests that more effort should be made to increase the capacity of the institutional framework, as it provides a critical foundation for the other dimensions of competitiveness. Indeed, the quality of institutions has actually been deteriorating in both OECD and African economies according to the GCI. This might explain in part why Africa’s competitiveness seems to have stagnated in comparison to OECD economies
(see Figure 11a). In Africa, a decline in security and government efficiency—two components of the public institutions subpillar—would appear to be at the core of this decline. Sound public institutions and governance are an important prerequisite for economic development.’-    

Is Africa really rising? History and facts suggest it isn’t

Grieve Chelwa, Africa is A Country
In the year 2000, the Economist ran a cover story with the title “Hopeless Africa”. Four years later, Robert Guest, who served as the newspaper’s Africa Editor, published “The Shackled Continent”, a book that pretty much concluded that, absent any miracles, Africa’s future was bleak. The book was widely praised, not least of all by all-round Africa expert Bob Geldof who said “[it] was written with a passion for Africa and Africans”.  Then in 2011, the current era of Afro-euphoria signalled its triumphant entrance with the Economist’s Africa Rising cover story. In contrast to their cover story of just a couple of years back, this one declared that there was hope for the hopeless continent (TIME did exactly the same thing in 2012).

We’ve written about the Africa Rising meme on this site, from culture to politics to music to fashion, again and again and again and again and again and again andagain and again. Now for the economics.

To be sure, African economies have begun growing again after contracting for most of the 1980s and 1990s. According to the World Bank, real GDP per capita shrank at a rate of 1% per year over the period 1980 to 2000 for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Since 2000, real GDP per capita has grown at the more respectable rate of 2% per year. And it appears that the incidence of poverty, at least as measured by the World Bank, also declined, although marginally, during the last decade.

Many so-called Africa watchers seem to have caught the “Africa rising” bug. There is now wide expectation, undergirded of course by the likes of the Economist, that growth will continue unabated going forward. Africa’s time is now! So declared a piece in the trendy Harvard Business Review.

The “Africa rising” narrative suggests the continent is now well on its way to self-sustaining growth. The kind of growth that the East Asian “tigers” and the countries known as the West experienced during the times they were rising. The kind of growth that has led to a massive reduction in poverty in China within a generation. Unfortunately here is where reality stands at odds with the euphoria.

Africa’s current growth revival (the continent did grow, and healthily so, from the 1960s to the 1970s) seems to be largely driven by external factors: China’s spectacular growth and along with it an increase in the price of commodities, whose exports Africa relies on to a great extent. So any slowdown in China’s growth, as is likely to happen as its economy matures, is likely to impact greatly on Africa’s performance.

To be sure, there have also been some internal drivers of growth: price distortions have been reduced in agriculture, macroeconomic stability has been restored (inflation rates are low and stable across most of the continent) and political institutions have improved (democracy and elections are now more common on the continent than before). But the prospects of these internal policies to sustain long-run growth are dismal. The Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, in a highly insightful essay titled “An African Growth Miracle?”, points out that the relationship between standard measures of good policies (macroeconomic stability, reduced price distortions, etc…) and economic growth tends to be weak. At best, good policies make economic crises less prevalent but cannot sustain and drive growth on their own. The same is also true of institutions, which following the much publicized work of Daron Acemoglu and friends, has become the be all and end all of development thinking. Rodrik points out that Latin America has experienced positive institutional changes within the last 20 years with a small payoff in growth. On the other hand, impressive growth in South Korea (until the 1990s) and China (today) has occurred alongside rampant cronyism and corruption.     

According to Rodrik, self-sustaining growth begins to occur when an economy undergoes a structural transformation from relying less on agriculture to relying more on industry. That is, self-sustaining growth is underpinned by large-scale industrialization. This is the historical lesson of the East Asian tigers, of China, and of even the West. Unfortunately the facts for Africa point in the opposite direction. Yes, African labour has moved out of agriculture in large numbers, but the beneficiary has not been manufacturing but services. The service sector tends not to be as “productive” as the manufacturing sector. And productivity, which is the ability to produce ever more output from the same amount of inputs, is what drives and sustains growth. The share of manufacturing in the economies of most African countries has declined from about 15% in the 1970s to around 10% today. That is Africa has in fact deindustrialized! And even the 10% of GDP that is manufacturing is mostly made up of small informal firms that are not particularly productive and are unlikely to evolve into big formal firms. Rodrik sums up his prospects for Africa thus:

“To sum up, the African pattern of structural change is very different from the classic pattern that has produced high growth in Asia, and before that, the European industrializers. Labour is moving out of agriculture and rural areas. But formal manufacturing industries are not the main beneficiary. Urban migrants are being absorbed largely into services that are not particularly productive and into informal activities. The pace of industrialization is much too slow to [spurn self-sustaining growth].”   

So what can be done? Rodrik suggests that industrialization can be helped along by improving the “business climate” in Africa. But the problem with the business climate argument, apart from being vague, is that it does not confront the fact that Africa was more industrialized in the 1970s, at a time when the business climate was likely no different from what it is today. In my opinion, the Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) that were administered beginning in the early 1980s are largely responsible for halting the pace of industrialization on the continent. With SAPs, Africans were told by their betters to stop supporting industry because doing so was “wasteful”. Subsidies to industry were reduced. Protective trade barriers were removed. Planning for industry was done away with. All this advice was dispensed in spite of the fact that today’s developed countries industrialized behind a veil of considerable state support. For instance, the historian Sven Beckert points out that Britain’s cloth manufacturing industry, which was largely responsible for the Industrial Revolution, was shielded from competition from India for most of the 18thCentury. The Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang has called this phenomenon of rich countries forcing policies on poor countries that they themselves did not implement during their time of take-off as “kicking away the ladder”.   

Africa needs to industrialize for it to really rise. Unfortunately the rhetoric around “Africa rising” is giving us a false sense of comfort and distracting us from the real work that needs to happen.



Africa, resource curse and weakest institutions: International mining companies contrive with local African elites to strip the continent of its resources. April 13, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia.
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OA shocking investigative journey into the way the resource trade wreaks havoc on Africa, ‘The Looting Machine’ explores the dark underbelly of the global economy.

The Looting Machine

AFRICANS ask many questions about what ails a continent that abounds with natural riches yet suffers, too, from greedy rulers, bad government and entrenched poverty. The replies they get range from the outright racist to the climatic (countries in the tropics suffer from more parasites and disease than in more temperate latitudes) to the political, with many blaming colonialism or so-called neo-colonialism for the continent’s woes.

For Tom Burgis, a journalist with the Financial Times, the problem is, paradoxically, Africa’s wealth of natural resources. He is not the first to write about countries with the “resource curse”. Nor does his book add to the copious academic literature on the subject. But Mr Burgis sees Africa—with a third of the Earth’s mineral deposits and some of its weakest institutions—as being particularly vulnerable to the predations that arise from the combination of mineral wealth and poor governance.

“The Looting Machine” is the fruit of Mr Burgis’s many travels through Africa, from bars in Port Harcourt to gleaming new office towers in Luanda, as well as his work as an investigative journalist. He presents a lively portrait of the rapacious “looting machine” in which international mining companies contrive with local African elites to strip the continent of its resources. In doing so he is not short of anecdotes (nor copious footnotes). In Angola he points to a small group that controls the state and has amassed great wealth. In parts of Nigeria these resource rents are shared between an elite that controls the state and armed warlords who held it to ransom through blowing up pipelines and kidnapping oil workers.

“In the place of the old empires are hidden networks of multinationals, middlemen and African potentates,” Mr Burgis says. “These networks fuse state and corporate power. They are aligned to no nation and belong instead to the transnational elites that have flourished in the era of globalisation.”

Yet for all the rhetorical flourish, Mr Burgis fails to explain why some states with bountiful natural resources manage them in ways that deepen democratic institutions and benefit the poor. One need not look as far as Norway for this. Botswana gets a mention for its economic dependence on diamonds (it is a major producer), but less so for its democratic traditions, excellent health and education systems and stability.

“The Looting Machine” reads partly like a mystery thriller and partly like a court submission, with its detailed descriptions of the corporate connections between Chinese companies with interests across the continent. Mr Burgis offers a rich collage of examples showing the links between corrupt companies and African elites. But he fails to argue convincingly that natural resources are the primary, or even a major, source of Africa’s troubles.  http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21647954-huge-natural-resources-and-poor-governance-are-dreadful-combination-blood-earth?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/LootingMachine