Summary of The Looting Machine

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Looting Machine book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans

Rating

9

Qualities

  • Comprehensive
  • Eye Opening
  • Insider's Take

Recommendation

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.

About the Author

Investigations correspondent at the Financial Times Tom Burgis focuses on the natural resource industries and its attendant corruption and conflict.

 

Summary

African Resources

Sub-Saharan Africa provides treasures for the world’s industries and energy systems. The continent boasts about one-third of Earth’s mineral and fossil fuel stores, including nearly one-eighth of global crude oil reserves. A typical 14-gallon tank of gas contains one gallon refined from African oil. Angola pumps more than 2% of the world’s oil and contributes one-seventh of China’s oil imports. Only Saudi Arabia sells more oil to China. Nigeria, Africa’s leading oil producer, pumps even more, and has enormous stores of natural gas. Recent natural gas discoveries may be larger than the United Arab Emirates’ reserves.

Africa possesses major deposits of nearly every mineral, including 80% of the world’s platinum, 40% of the planet’s gold and the globe’s wealthiest diamond mines. France’s nuclear energy group Areva obtains one-third of its uranium in Niger. Congo supplies one-fifth of the mineral coltan (columbite-tantalite), which cellphones, laptops, tablet computers and other electronics require to function in compact packages. In 2010, the value of Africa’s mineral and hydrocarbons export reached $333 billion.

Living in Poverty

In Angola...


More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Congo’s Slide into Chaos
7
Epidemic
8
‘State capture’
8
Searching for Boko Haram
8
The New North
9
“They Eat Money”
7

Related Channels

Comment on this summary