We reported in a recent post on the estimated wealth of some Africa leaders. Beyond just the ruling presidents, a whole cast of kleptocrats is in the driving seat, maintaining a system to its own profit. Indeed, according to “The Looting Machine”, a book written by Tom Burgis, Africa combines a staggering wealth, spreading violence, and extreme poverty, a devastating combination on "the continent that is at once the world's poorest and, arguably, its richest", according to the author.
It is unfortunately notable that the wholesale expropriation of resources during colonial times has barely slowed after the independence, but with new beneficiaries. After the foreign power left, a local elite remained that attributed to itself the power and its attributes, without necessarily having all the capacities, and with no division between political and commercial interests. In many countries, the largest source of wealth is mines or oilfields. It opens the door to oil and mining firms, transforming colonial exploitation into modern exploitation. The ability of governments to rely on such resource revenue leads to enormous corruption and oppression, as they are not accountable to their people through a social contract based on democracy.
Moreover, the growth of offshore banking in the late 20th century created new opportunities for resource tycoons to cover their tracks. Bribery now is much more sophisticated, and has become harder to define as it take place through offshore transactions or people being given equity shares in offshore companies…
Fighting this is not within our reach, but the action of the Mangrove Foundation eases the pain inflicted to the population we support in the course of our projects.