Africa sends a wealth of industrial raw materials – bauxite, iron, copper – as well as fossil fuels, uranium, gold and diamonds out into the world. Despite this natural wealth, desperate poverty besets many African states. Tom Burgis, a veteran investigative journalist, has covered natural resources, conflict and corruption in Africa for more than a decade. He shines a light on the “shadow states,” criminal networks and unscrupulous corporate parties that impoverished the continent while extracting vast profits. Burgis’s investigations take him to the slums of Luanda, the markets of Kaduna, the diamond fields of Zimbabwe, and the offices of kleptocrats and modern robber barons who bankrupt entire nations. At times, Burgis bogs down in financial facts and figures or in the intricacies of byzantine business deals that might tax readers’ patience. But those who seek an understanding of the causes of Africa’s suffering – and of who benefits from that suffering – will find truth, outrage and compassion in this unflinching account.
In this summary, you will learn
- What natural resources Africa exports and who benefits;
- How the “resource curse” and the “Dutch disease” drained money from resource-laden African nations that remain impoverished, violent and autocratic; and
- How Africa can combat corruption.
About the Author
Investigations correspondent at the Financial Times Tom Burgis focuses on the natural resource industries and its attendant corruption and conflict.