Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Resource Curse

From Algeria to Angola - and from petroleum to platinum, iron ore to oceans - the scramble for Africa's resources has often caused problems rather than created prosperity. Few African countries process their own raw materials - rather, the value is added elsewhere, to the benefit of others. Much of the profits from resource exploitation leave the continent entirely in the hands of foreign-owned companies which pay low rates of tax.

In Nigeria, the continent's biggest oil producer, at least $400bn (£250bn) of oil revenue has been stolen or misspent since independence in 1960, according to estimates by former World Bank vice-president for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili. That is 12 times the country's national budget for 2011. Meanwhile, 90% of people live on less than $2 per day.

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