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Big Oil and Africa

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Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 17169
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:18 pm    Post subject: Big Oil and Africa Reply with quote

There is a line of criticism of resource extraction in Africa that holds that such business practices foster corruption, and do not benefit the general population. That critique is not limited to oil, I first read this argument about diamonds, and there are many books and articles about the subject. Books like “Blood on the Stone” expose the 4 million deaths in the diamond wars. Then there is “Diamonds, Gold and War”, which adds gold to the mix. Some have blamed the assassination of Patrice Lumamba of the Congo on a desire to continue to reap mining profits. Part of the reasoning behind these critiques is that extractive industries rely on contracts, or processing of the resources elsewhere, which means that a middle class overseeing extraction and processing does not develop.
Similar criticisms have been leveled at oil development, some describing it as neo-colonialism. A large amount of oil has been extracted in Africa, and has generated immense wealth in royalties. Libya and Nigeria have the largest known reserves in Africa—48 and 37 billion barrels respectively. While extraction in Libya is dominated by the National Oil Corporation, development has led to corruption.
Corruption in Libya began during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule from 1969 to 2011. Gaddafi’s regime received billions of dollars in bribes from wealthy corporations to make illegal deals in the energy sector. A total of $65 billion of Libya’s wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), was held in private accounts instead of going toward public expenditures. While Gaddafi’s regime was profiting off of Libya’s national assets, more than 40 percent of the Libyan population lived below the poverty line.

Similar charges have been leveled against oil development in Nigeria, See for example “Oil rent and Corruption: The case of Nigeria:

And then there is the damage done to the land and water.

Such problems include contamination of water bodies, danger to aquatic life, and destruction of farmlands, [8]. …between 1976 and 1996, it was estimated that over 6,000 oil spills occurred in the Niger Delta region and about 2-million barrels of crude oil leaked into the environment.

Other sources estimate that “about 40 million litres of oil are spilled every year across the Niger Delta, according to the Rise for Bayelsa campaign.”, and the resulting contamination is the subject of lawsuits. Spills have contaminated vast areas of farmland, and studies have shown that those spills have increased neo-natal mortality.

Has this benefited the people of Nigeria? In 2018, Nigeria was named the world’s poorest country, and the number of people living in extreme poverty had grown to 87 million people.

Now a man who is associated with oil development in Africa has accused environmentalists in the US of not caring about the health of infants in Africa because we supported banning DDT. He has been very cute about exactly what role he has played, only assuring us all that his experience is so much superior to ours that he knows what he is writing about on all subjects. Sanctimonious is his middle name, and his surname appears to be "buggy whip." Why he has even gone so far as to accuse me of endangering the health of people in West Oakland because I didn't reduce emissions from his industry fast enough.

What indeed has big oil done for Africa? Increased poverty and neo-natal mortality.
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