A new report finds that Africa isn’t really a poor continent, as is so often believed in mainstream culture, but rather, countries around the world actually steal $41.3 billion each year from Africa, with most citizens of African nations never seeing a dime.
The report, spearheaded by Global Justice Now, found that African countries received $161.6 billion in 2015 from loans, personal remittances and grants, but $203 billion was then taken back out of Africa, mainly by corporations (illegally), or by climate change costs imposed by the rest of the world. That resulted in Africa being a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of $41.3 billion in 2015, according to the report.
Specifically, the report noted the following:
- African countries receive around $19 billion in aid in the form of grants but over three times that much ($68 billion) is taken out in capital flight, mainly by multinational companies deliberately misreporting the value of their imports or exports to reduce tax.
- While Africans receive $31 billion in personal remittances from overseas, multinational companies operating on the continent repatriate a similar amount ($32 billion) in profits to their home countries each year.
- African governments received $32.8 billion in loans in 2015 but paid $18 billion in debt interest and principal payments, with the overall level of debt rising rapidly.
- An estimated $29 billion a year is being stolen from Africa in illegal logging, fishing and the trade in wildlife/plants.
The report points out that Africa is actually a very rich continent, and even booming financially in some sectors, with the largest 500 African companies recording a combined profit of $698 billion in 2014. And in 2015, African countries exported $232 billion worth of minerals and oil to the rest of the world. But the value of untapped mineral reserves deep below the African surface is even larger, estimated to be a whopping $24 trillion in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, and $2.5 trillion in South Africa.
In short, the rest of the world is profiting illegally and immorally from Africa’s wealth, while the vast majority of people who live in Africa are left in extreme poverty. As the report notes, the world is being extremely mislead on the state of Africa’s potential: “Rich country governments simply tell their publics that their aid programmes are helping Africa. This is a distraction, and misleading.”