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    Default Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.

    by Nick Deardenby Nick Dearden - 24 May 2017

    "Africa is poor, but we can try to help its people."

    It's a simple statement, repeated through a thousand images, newspaper stories and charity appeals each year, so that it takes on the weight of truth. When we read it, we reinforce assumptions and stories about Africa that we've heard throughout our lives. We reconfirm our image of Africa.

    Try something different. Africa is rich, but we steal its wealth.

    That's the essence of a report (pdf) from several campaign groups released today. Based on a set of new figures, it finds that
    sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of more than $41bn. Sure, there's money going in: around $161bn a year in the form of loans, remittances (those working outside Africa and sending money back home), and aid.

    But there's also
    $203bn leaving the continent. Some of this is direct, such as $68bn in mainly dodged taxes. Essentially multinational corporations "steal" much of this - legally - by pretending they are really generating their wealth in tax havens. These so-called "illicit financial flows" amount to around 6.1 percent of the continent's entire gross domestic product (GDP) - or three times what Africa receives in aid.

    Then there's the
    $30bn that these corporations "repatriate" - profits they make in Africa but send back to their home country, or elsewhere, to enjoy their wealth. The City of London is awash with profits extracted from the land and labour of Africa.

    There are also more indirect means by which we pull wealth out of Africa. Today's report estimates that
    $29bn a year is being stolen from Africa in illegal logging, fishing and trade in wildlife. $36bn is owed to Africa as a result of the damage that climate change will cause to their societies and economies as they are unable to use fossil fuels to develop in the way that Europe did. Our climate crisis was not caused by Africa, but Africans will feel the effect more than most others. Needless to say, the funds are not currently forthcoming.

    In fact, even this assessment is enormously generous, because it assumes that all of the wealth flowing into Africa is benefiting the people of that continent. But loans to governments and the private sector (at more than $50bn) can turn into unpayable and odious debt.

    Ghana is losing 30 per cent of its government revenue to debt repayments, paying loans which were often made speculatively, based on high commodity prices, and carrying whopping rates of interest. One particularly odious aluminum smelter in Mozambique, built with loans and aid money, is currently costing the country £21 for every £1 that the Mozambique government received.

    British aid, which is used to set up private schools and health centers, can undermine the creation of decent public services, which is why such private schools are being closed down in Uganda and Kenya. Of course, some Africans have benefited from this economy. There are now around 165,000 very rich Africans, with combined holdings of $860bn.

    But, given the way the economy works, where do these people mainly keep their wealth?

    In tax havens.

    A 2014 estimate suggests that
    rich Africans were holding a massive $500bn in tax havens. Africa's people are effectively robbed of wealth by an economy that enables a tiny minority of Africans to get rich by allowing wealth to flow out of Africa.

    So what is the answer? Western governments would like to be seen as generous beneficiaries, doing what they can to "help those unable to help themselves". But the first task is to stop perpetuating the harm they are doing. Governments need to stop
    forcing African governments to open up their economy to privatization, and their markets to unfair competition.

    If African countries are to benefit from foreign investment, they must be allowed to - even helped to - legally regulate that investment and the corporations that often bring it. And they might want to think about not putting their faith in the extractives sector.

    With few exceptions,
    countries with abundant mineral wealth experience poorer democracy, weaker economic growth, and worse development. To prevent tax dodging, governments must stop prevaricating on action to address tax havens. No country should tolerate companies with subsidiaries based in tax havens operating in their country.

    Aid is tiny, and the very least it can do, if spent well, is to return some of Africa's looted wealth. We should see it both as a form of reparations and redistribution, just as the tax system allows us to redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest within individual societies. The same should be expected from the global "society".

    To even begin to embark on such an ambitious program, we must change the way we talk and think about Africa. It's not about making people feel guilty, but correctly diagnosing a problem in order to provide a solution.
    We are not, currently, "helping" Africa. Africa is rich. Let's stop making it poorer.

    Mapping Africa's natural resources

    An overview of the continent's main natural resources.

    20 Feb 2018

    Africa is a key territory on the global map. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position.

    Rich in oil and natural resources, Africa is the world's fastest-growing region for foreign direct investment.
    It has approximately 30 percent of the earth's remaining mineral resources.

    It's home to more than 40 different nations and around 2,000 languages. Sub-Saharan Africa has six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies. North Africa has vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources such as coltan, gold, and copper, among many others, are abundant on the continent.

    The region is full of promise and untapped riches - from oil and minerals and land to vast amounts of people capital - yet,
    it has struggled since colonial times to truly realize its potential.

    Oil and gas

    Africa is home to five of the world's top oil-producing countries, with an estimated 57 percent of Africa's export earnings from hydrocarbons.

    Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and Mozambique are all rich in oil and gas.

    Proven oil reserves have grown by almost 150 percent, increasing from 53.4 billion barrels since 1980, to 130.3 billion barrels by the end of 2012.

    The region is home to five of the top 30 oil-producing countries in the world, and nearly $2tn of investments are expected by 2036.

    Other resources

    Besides oil and gas, Africa is rich in precious minerals, forests and:

    Diamonds: Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Gold: Benin, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Mali, South Africa, Tanzania.

    Nickel and Uranium: Burundi.

    Pozzolana: Cape Verde.

    Fish: Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles.

    Timber: Liberia.

    Titanium: Gambia.

    Graphite: Madagascar.

    Tobacco: Malawi.

    Iron Ore: Mauritania.

    Phosphates: Western Sahara, Morocco.

    Aluminium and Gas: Guinea, Mozambique.

    Cooper: Uganda, Zambia.

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    White Engineer Steals South African Student's Invention Months After His Mysterious Death

    by Tanasia Kenney - 2/14/2018

    Questions and concerns were plentiful this past weekend stemming from the recent death of an African inventor whose water saving device gained national attention months before his mysterious demise.

    University of Cape Town student Nkosinathi Nkomo died late last year after authorities say he fell from the balcony of a multi-story apartment building. At just 24 years old, Nkomo had created his own water purification system called AqauRenu, a device aimed at relieving South Africa’s drought crisis, The South African reported.

    The student’s
    invention began gaining attention in October, helping him cover his university fees and continue progress on his civil engineering degree. Just two months later, however, Nkomo was mysteriously dead with police offering little details into what had happened. Family and friends remembered him as an extremely smart, determined young man with a dry sense of humor.

    Fast forward to February of this year and critics are accusing a white developer of stealing the young man’s idea and taking credit for it. The allegations were sparked over the weekend after local politician Helen Zille tweeted a post promoting industrial designer Retief Krige’s water invention, Waterloo.

    Nkomo’s father has ruled out the possibility of suicide in his son’s death.

    “He didn’t owe anyone anything. He had no debts or a bond that he was struggling to pay,” Moses Ndimande told Sowetan Live in December. ” …The truth will come out one day as to what really happened on that fateful day.”

    Investigators said no foul play was suspected. Still, many critics beg to differ.

    Zille later responded to suspicions that Krige’s invention was in any way linked to Nkomo’s “tragic death,” tweeting, “to suggest it’s connected to another industrial engineer who did not know him is extremely unfair. The 2 systems are very different.”

    “If Nkosinathi had invited me to the launch of his product, I would have been there!”

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    Akon Has Done More for Africans in One Year Than Most Charities Have Done in Decades

    by Matt Agorist - June 13, 2016

    Across the African continent, more than 600 million African people still live without access to electricity, and 3.5 million people die each year from inhaling toxic fuels or house fires caused while trying to light their homes.

    Realizing that access to electricity is one of the key components to increasing the quality of life,
    rap superstar, and Senegal transplant, Akon decided to take action last year.

    As the Guardian reported at the launch of their project last year,
    Akon and his two co-founders — Thione Niang, a Senegalese political activist, and Samba Bathily, a Malian entrepreneur and CEO of the solar energy company Solektra International — believe that what rural African communities need is not overseas charity but affordable renewable energy delivered by fully trained African professionals, managing for-profit projects that bring longevity, generate jobs and build new self-sustaining economies. They think this initiative could mark the beginning of an African energy renaissance in which the continent becomes the focal point of a global solar power industry.

    They were right.

    In less than one year, according to the charity group Akon Lighting Africa, a wide range of quality solar solutions, including street lamps, domestic and individual kits, have been installed in 14 African countries — thanks to a private-public partnership model and a well-established network of partners (including SOLEKTRA INT, SUMEC and NARI).

    As a result, a number of households, villages, community houses, schools and health centers located in rural areas have been connected to electricity for the first time ever. Local jobs, primarily for young people, have also been created in these communities, for installation of equipment’s and for maintenance.

    The highly positive results observed since the start of the project show that a local presence and practical solutions are key to resolving energy issues in Africa. Akon Lighting Africa’s roadmap fully reflects its founding members’ vision for Africa: to deliver concrete results to populations.

    The transformative effects that a single group has had in the region are nothing short of astonishing, and it also brings into question — just what exactly these other groups, who’ve been there for decades, have been doing?

    For starters, the majority of
    charitable organizations operating in Africa are not from Africa; they are primarily backed by western religious organizations or mega charities that have become so bureaucratic they fail to accomplish a single goal.

    “One thing I’ve realised about Africa is that only the organisations that involve Africans themselves are successful. A lot of corporations that come with their own policies and try and implement them in Africa fail horribly. The advantage we had is that all three founders are African, so we were able to navigate through each country a lot faster,” said Akon of the work he started.

    Aside from having no clue what they are doing in Africa, many of these
    charities are more concerned with self-sustainability than they are with aid. Or, if they actually deliver aid, it is in the form of food drives, vaccinations, temporary medical help, or proselytization. The effects of such temporary relief are like putting a band-aid on a hemorrhaging artery.

    This is not an attempt to demonize the good people who travel across the world to help others. These people most assuredly have their hearts in the right place.

    That being said, however, the bureaucratic nature of these larger charities, like the Red Cross, sets them up for failure before they even begin. One example of this can be found in the Red Cross response to a Haitian earthquake.

    An investigation by NPR and ProPublica gained access to “confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders” familiar with how the NGO broke its promises, misspent millions of dollars, and then issued self-congratulatory progress statements.

    Several years later, more than 100,000 victims who were promised a helping hand, have still never received anything — in spite of the charity taking in over $500 million.

    Compare that horrid failure and subsequent cover up to Akon’s model, and the Red Cross looks like inept con artists.

    To fund his program, Akon and his partners took on the debt and responsibility themselves. The venture was pre-financed using a $1bn credit line funded by international partners, including China Jiangsu International Group, and distributed by the pan-African bank Ecobank.

    As the installations continue, the investors are now able to see a return on their investments. Instead of a unidirectional monetary flow, like the bureaucratic charities, Akon’s model establishes a circular model of commerce, paving the way for renewable energy growth and success in the future.


    Charity work is a money making business. "Charity" organizations would be out of earning money if they actually helped the needy. They collect money from good-hearted people and earn a profit and then they go and offer aid (food) in exchange for them converting to Atheism or Christianity.


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