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.