Came across this interesting article in the Guardian today on how offshore accounts have helped people get rich off the continent’s natural resources – just not ordinary citizens. I produce below an extract:
“Consider the case of Beny Steinmetz, a prominent name in the Panama Papers. In 2008, Steinmetz’s British Virgin Islands registered company, BSG Resources (BSGR), secured rights to a 50% stake in Guinea’s Simandou mine – one of the world’s richest iron ore deposits in one of the world’s poorest countries. BSGR said it had acquired the stake on the promise of a $165m investment in the exploration of the area with “no guarantee of success”. But two years later it sold half of the stake to the Brazilian mining giant Vale for $2.5bn – a sum equivalent to roughly twice Guinea’s annual budget. The Sudanese philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim, described the Guinean deal brokers as “idiots, or criminals, or both”.
Comment: I’d urge anyone with an interest in the subject matter to find and read Tom Burgis’s book “The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa’s Wealth”. It provides a detailed account of the rape and plunder of Africa’s natural resources by huge companies and corrupt regimes from DR Congo to Guinea and Nigeria among others. He uncovers the secretive networks that control Africa’s natural resources and fuel its conflicts