Saturday, May 18, 2019

Neo-Colonialist Corporations

Though Ghana won its independence in 1957, the vestiges of colonialism and underdevelopment did not end. It has continued in neocolonialist forms, that deprive the Ghanaian people of the right to process, develop, and manage their natural wealth and to be the drivers of their own policies—in other words, their right to national sovereignty. It is transnational corporations, the stand-ins of yesterday’s British empire—often aided by an enthusiastic national bourgeoisie—that have robbed the Ghanaian people of sovereignty over their resources, their wealth, and their future

Every year, the vast majority of Ghana’s natural wealth is stolen. The country is among the largest exporters of gold in the world, yet—according to a study by the Bank of Ghana—less than 1.7 percent of global returns from its gold make their way back to the Ghanaian government. This means that the remaining 98.3 percent is managed by outside entities—mainly multinational corporations, who keep the lion’s share of the profits. In other words, of the US$5.2 billion of gold produced from 1990 to 2002, the government received only US$87.3 million in corporate income taxes and royalty payments.

Of the ten top multinational firms that operate on the African continent, only one (Vale, of Brazil) is located in the Global South. Of the remaining nine, three are United States corporations, three are Canadian, two are Australian, and one is British. All are private transnational corporations. In other words, the gold that is extracted from Ghanaian soil (like the natural wealth extracted from across the African continent and Global South) is immediately handed over to multinational corporations—almost entirely based in and controlled by the Global North (or, at best, by the national elite)—to be processed, refined, and distributed.

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