Africa is a continent ridiculed by most commentators as cursed, backward and poor continent which must operate under the generous grants and aids from developed world. Nobody especially from those developed countries, would ever take any African leader serious even though they are treated with much “respect” and being welcomed on a paths of “red carpets” by their European and American counterparts whenever they visit those countries .For me this is a contempt in disguise. Why would European and American countries offer African leaders funds from their tax payers when they go there by the one of the most expensive private jets and dignitaries? Not by any chance Africa is a cursed continent, is that, much is needed to be done. I will give you brief summary from colonial Africa to post-colonial Africa as to what has been happening, then you will figure out by yourself.
British played a leading role in extraction of resources during colonial period in Africa specifically southern and central Africa. The competition to find and control sources of raw materials was one of the major drivers of European scramble and partition of Africa.
By 1914 Africa had already been chopped up and partitioned by the colonial powers namely; Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Britain. It was European squabbling for African colonies and her massive tremendous wealth that was significant cause of WWI.
Africa has been historically absolutely vital to the industrialisation of Europe as source of natural resources and human labour. Modern Europe owes its development to the availability of Africa’s natural resources which were taken to Europe the turned into finished manufactured goods for value added export.
Africa has nothing or little to show for centuries of exploitation because Europeans contributed minimally to the development of the continent. Poverty in the continent is as bad as ever. Inequality is just severe.
It is just a serious motion of discussion, as to why community living in resource rich regions are severely poor. This can be traced back to colonial era. Britain and other European powers exploited the continent resources purely for their own benefit.
Today, globalisation and mobility of capital make it difficult to identify companies as entirely British. However, a British company to me is the one which is headquartered in UK and formed under the UK corporates Act. Any company listed under the London Stock Exchange (LSE) must be or should be treated as British company.
British mining companies in Africa work in a manner that provide necessary capital for investment to ensure maximum benefit of the company. This means that they are not different from other multinational corporates in Africa. In Africa if you have capital you become far more influential on mining than the owners of the minerals including the governments. Everything is skewed up especially when they argue that “we take enormous commercial risks to invest in unsecure environment.”
British companies have no problems investing in countries at war or corrupted environments and massive serious human rights violations. British companies work based on William Reno’s descriptions of L’ Afrique utile et L’ Afrique unutile (usable Africa and Unusable Africa). Usable Africa is the territory that contains minerals and is protected by company and private security. Unusable Africa is the land that is managed by dysfunctional and corrupt state. This is accepted by British companies that these two situations can operate in parallel, in that production and endemic violence and poverty can co-exist. The reality is that the state can provides British companies with licences at reduced price in a dubious manner, which allows them to leap a maximum capital. The little paid to African government in taxes, royalties and bonuses is pocketed by few elites.
European’s corporates, when their interests are threatened, they help in destructions of personal rule in Africa, and in the process undermines democracy. This can be a study case in Angola where British government had failed to criticise the lack of transparency and accountability of- and human rights abuses perpetrated by then the regime of president Dos Santos, despite the fact Britain is a signatory of international Human Rights Protections. This was because of the major oil interest of BP (Formerly British Petroleum). BP is active in offshore oil development of 30,000 square kilometres in Angola. Similarly, there was massive and extreme embezzlement of funds by Angolan ruling elites, and now this should come to your senses as to why British government selectively accuse some governments in Africa of corruption and human rights violations. Europe in general have taken in by Angola’s double digit economic growth rate over the past decades. This is similarly being played on us by double digits economic growth rate of Cote d’ Ivoire by Europeans governments to hide true interests of Chocolate Industries in that country. The big question remained, economic growth for whom? Wealthy creation is the most important than wealth distribution according to Europeans.
All conflicts in Africa have been brought up by Europeans’ companies specifically British, especially the regions where they have been denied access. I will give you an example among others of such company, AngloGold Ashanti which invest in gold entered into lucrative relations with the FNI rebel movement in 1994. This was to undermine national sovereignty of host country in order to access resources.
Human lives, healthy and environment are none of the Europeans’ corporates in Africa when it comes to exploitation of minerals. SOCO and Perenco two British oil companies doesn’t care about most diverse national park and UNESCO World Heritage, Virunga National park. All they want is to exploit oil despite protest by local civil society and communities. It should be known that Virunga National Park is home to the extremely endangered mountain gorillas and okapis as well as other flora and fauna.