(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Focus on Africa's paradox of plenty, watchdog urges Clinton

A gas flare in Nigeria's oil delta region
Elaine Gilligan/Friends of the Earth

There should be strong emphasis on the economic motives behind the conflict, corruption, human rights abuse and poverty in resource-rich African countries, an international lobby group said as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued her 11-day tour of the continent.

"Among the seven countries she will visit, Angola, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria are key examples of how abundant natural resource wealth - such as oil, minerals, and timber - can be more of a curse than a blessing, causing or exacerbating conflict and corruption," Global Witness (GW), which monitors natural resource exploitation, said in a statement on 5 August.

Angola, where several major US oil companies have substantial investments, "has an appalling record for corruption and mismanagement of its oil wealth ... most of the country's people continue to live in deep poverty, despite the vast earnings from oil", and Nigeria "also suffered grievously from corruption surrounding oil revenues - a direct cause of the violent conflict in the Niger Delta region."

Patrick Alley, Director of GW, noted that "vast mineral wealth in the DRC provides both an incentive to fight and the money to buy weapons," while in Liberia there was concern over post-conflict reform of the forest sector.


GW urged Secretary Clinton to focus on "finding solutions to the 'resource curse' when she meets leaders this week".


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