Annan calls for end to ‘unconscionable’ exploitation of Africa’s resources

10 May

Much of the wealth from natural resources fails to flow to local people, says the Africa Progress Report. Photograph (courtesy of Reuters)

Much of the wealth from natural resources fails to flow to local people, says the Africa Progress Report. Photograph (courtesy of Reuters)


 
by Heather Stewart, The Guardian

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, is urging David Cameron to use Britain’s chairmanship of the G8 to end some of the “unconscionable” practices of companies exploiting Africa’s vast reserves of natural resources.

The prime minister has promised to put trade, transparency and tax at the top of the G8’s agenda when he hosts the leaders of the world’s major nations in Belfast next month.

Annan said he would be sending him a copy of the annual Africa Progress Report, which shows how the economic benefits of extracting natural resources such as oil and iron ore often fail to flow through to the local population.

“Africa loses twice as much in illicit financial outflows as it receives in international aid,” said Annan, in his foreword to the 120-page report. “It is unconscionable that some companies, often supported by dishonest officials, are using unethical tax avoidance, transfer pricing and anonymous company ownership to maximize their profits, while millions of Africans go without adequate nutrition, health and education.”

While a number of resource-rich African states such as Equatorial Guinea and Angola have achieved impressive economic growth rates in recent years, widening inequality has often meant that development indicators, such as infant mortality, have failed to keep pace. Average GDP per head in Equatorial Guinea, at $21,715 (£14,015), now exceeds the $17,776 of Poland, for example; but life expectancy is just 51, against 76 in Poland.

Read the full article from The Guardian

%d bloggers like this: