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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Give them their parliament but we will control the banks

Columns Give them their parliament but we will control the banks

Mr Matt Pascal First Quantum Minerals Director of Operation with President Edgar Lungu during the Tour of Kansanshi Mine PLC in Solwezi on Friday 15-05-2015 Picture EDDIE MWANALEZA /STATE HOUSE.

Britain’s New African Empire

Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control over $1trillion worth of Africa’s resources in just five commodities – oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. My research for the NGO, War on Want, which has just been published, reveals that 101 companies, most of them British, control $305billion worth of platinum, $276billion worth of oil and $216billion worth of coal at current market prices. The ‘Scramble for Africa’ is proceeding apace, with the result that African governments have largely handed over their treasure.

Tanzania’s gold, Zambia’s copper, South Africa’s platinum and coal and Botswana’s diamonds are all dominated by London-listed companies. They have mines or mineral licences in 37 African countries and control vast swathes of Africa’s land: their concessions cover a staggering 1.03million square kilometres on the continent. This is over four times the size of the UK and nearly one twentieth of sub-Saharan Africa’s total land area. China’s resources grabs have been widely vilified but the major foreign takeover of Africa’s natural riches springs from a lot closer to home.

Many African governments depend on mineral resources for revenues, yet the extent of foreign ownership means that most wealth is being extracted along with the minerals. In only a minority of mining operations do African governments have a shareholding. Company tax payments are minimal due to low tax rates while governments often provide companies with generous incentives such as corporation tax holidays.

We need to radically rethink the notion that Britain is helping Africa to develop. The UK’s large aid programme is, among other things, being used to promote African policies from which British corporations will further profit

Companies are also able to avoid paying taxes by their use of tax havens. Of the 101 London-listed companies, 25 are actually incorporated in tax havens, principally the British Virgin Islands. It is estimated that Africa loses around $35billion a year in illicit financial flows out of the continent and a further $46billion a year in multinational company profits taken from operations in Africa.

UK companies’ increasingly dominant role in Africa, which is akin to a new colonialism, is being facilitated by British governments, Conservative and Labour alike. Four policies stand out. First, Whitehall has long been a fierce advocate of liberalized trade and investment regimes in Africa that provide access to markets for foreign companies. It is largely opposed to African countries putting up regulatory or protectionist barriers to such investment, the sorts of policies where have often been used by successful developers in East Asia. Second, Britain has been a world leader in advocating low corporate taxes in Africa, including in the extractives sector.

Third, British policy has done nothing to challenge multinational companies using tax havens; indeed the global infrastructure of tax havens is largely a British creation. Fourth, British governments have constantly espoused only voluntary mechanisms for companies to monitor their human rights impacts; they are opposed to enhancing international legally binding mechanisms to curb abuses.

The result is that Africa, the world’s poorest continent, is being further impoverished. Recent research calculated, for the first time, all the financial inflows and outflows to and from sub-Saharan Africa to gauge whether Africa is being helped or exploited by the rest of the world. It found that $134billion flows into the continent each year, mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid. However, $192billion is taken out, mainly in profits made by foreign companies and tax dodging. The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58billion a year. British mining companies and their government backers are contributing to this drainage of wealth.

We need to radically rethink the notion that Britain is helping Africa to develop. The UK’s large aid programme is, among other things, being used to promote African policies from which British corporations will further profit. British policy in Africa, and indeed that of African elites, needs to be challenged and substantially changed if we are serious about promoting long term economic development on the continent.

By Mark Curtis




  1. While we fight over election results our wealth and future continue to be stolen from right under our noses.Keep them occupied on politics while we plunder their resources.Let them spend time on a referendum that will fail ,let them focus on the 50+1 vote that doesn’t make sense, let their courts operate like ancient British courts so that cases take a preposterous length of time and Zambians are glued to the trivial.Mean while we continue taking their copper,buy more land and even more land, occupy them on South african malls ,close their manufacturing industries, give them vaccines to reduce fertility so that their populations are not powerful and large in future.To crown it send in IMF….Let him who has ears hear.

    • The other problem is we do not promote our own, if some one is rich and owns a lot of companies, its either is a satanist or he has stolen, Africa is its own worst enemy.

  2. Well, it never Ends, main ingredient: GREED OF CORRUPTIBLE AFRICAN POLITICIANS…
    Now some will understand where Malema is coming from and JUST MAYBE where he’s trying to get to…even Mandela FAILED lamentably on this one – just scorn-off the Bokassas,Mobutus,Gaddafis,Obasanjos, dos Santos, Chilubas.. what have u 🙁

  3. Why moderating my comment chi Lusaka times. Media in Zambia is so compromised. So pf is now feeding you.

  4. ….now you know why HIV/AIDS prevalence was/is MORE and only in former British colonies. Unless this and especially the next generation of Zambias admit and indeed ‘wake up’ to these realities as bona-fide, we shall continue as a country to reap the whirlwind…

  5. These things we know very well but we dont act on them coz of selfishness in the people….whether those in government or opposition. They care for themselves and their families. Shame.

  6. This article is so true & some of us in Zambia almost successfuly voted into GRZ a party that is championing rights of investors such as Anglo over building capacity in our people using instruments such as enhanced Bill of Rights. What we lack in Africa is capacity, competence & responsibility. When these mines were given to us we failed to run them properly. In the hands of investors we benefit little from these resources. We’ve now gained competence but not financial capacity & responsibility. Let us stop wasting time Africa. Let us equip ourselves & our children with right attitude to compete with best in the world. No one owes us development. We can do it with God’s help. YES WE CAN!

  7. Thanks ba LusakaTimes for the article. In Zambia we need more of such here on LT and less of political indecency from our leaders of both sides. U can leave such HH/Lungu articles to Watchdog and Tumfweko.

  8. Trickle down economics don’t work but only function to make rich become richer and poor become poorer. A rich investor will only plough back enough money to maintain ‘golden goose’ to continue producing. A bulk of wealth will be shipped out of the motherland. Let us not be cheated with small ‘change’ that remains. We need investors, yes, but it can’t be forever. There has to be a balance. We need our own to start participating so that they can keep their money here. But our people can’t compete unless they have right attitude & discipline. This is what we need. God help us!

  9. Well, well, well……what has happened to the infamous Bemba v Tonga hair pulling? Seems now you on same side…eh…ba swine mulimafontini. Fighting for nothing whilst you are being raped by imperialists.

  10. Such realities are heart breaking. We Africans (Zambians) focus so much on things that do not add so much value to our lives and development and mean time we have all this wealth which is going out there. God help us.

  11. Brexit makes it worse. Quite openly state the ‘Common’wealth as a ‘trade’ partner. Yet when one of the Nordic countries worked out what royalties should be we have bent over backwards using self interest of greedy individuals and weak economic leadership, to hand it all back. How do the ones who have it all treat foreign entities as though they are doing us a favour?

    Even as it stands we have ‘elected’ more of the same to inflict more damage. Mind boggling backwardness, no thought for the future and unadulterated greed. I suppose as long as you and your family are getting richer, the rest of the country is supposed to swallow BS, prayers and whatever nonsense is shielding GREED.

  12. Who told you that we have any leadership in Africa. African leaders are as good as baboons. They dont mind about the future of the country and their generations but more interested in staying into power and abuse their citizens. We have seen this in many countries and Zambia too. It is even better the Muzungus rule us openly so that we may have basic social services we are denied by our politicians. What has African independence achieved I may ask? Nothing apart from social strife and disease.

  13. Thats why i sometimes wish there were leaders for hire! Clearly,we have failed to lead ourselves due to greedy and selfishness….these politicians are in this for themselves and no one else. Again, our children will never know the real Zambia we’ve always known,its a shame. We need to be re colonised and i think thats whats happening indirectly.

  14. Obed you are fool you don’t know anything! this war is not about money or Africa as a continent it is about you “Black Man” the story of Esau and Jacob one white and the other black. The Black one thinks He is cursed but alas! he is the one whom the most high chose! the prophesy of esdra is coming to pass Esau is the end of the world and Jacob is the begging of the World. If you are ignorant of who you are you will never ever understand why Britain does what She does! Research on who is at the zenith of power world over and you will understand why Africa is poor and will continue to be so if Africans (The true Israelites ) don’t return to the most high. Read Deuteronomy 28 about the curses that will follow the I sraelites if they stop keeping the commandments and how they will not…

  15. The Indian shop owners used to tell our parents in chikananga : ZAMBIA ENA KAWENA, LO MALI ENA KATINA
    meaning Zambia is Yours, but the Money is Ours.

  16. It looks like we Africans have failed to rule our selves. It’s about greed especially as far as the leaders are concerned. As long as one gets his cut whatever happens thereafter does not matter.

  17. arguably the best article of the year. 200 such articles would change zambia than wasting time on dundumweezi and lundazi articles each with 7000 comments


  19. LT. The way to go, The article is eye opening, it has made me understand certain things hhay happen in our continent that I don’t understand, like; Britain has no raw resources but they are wealthier than any African country with abundant raw resources.

    I love my Zambia.
    Obe Zambia One Nation.

  20. Wise Zambians will concerate on making then politics just white and Indians do,let’s mk money us in business which fort canes we are capitalist cool

  21. Of we cannteduce the net outflows to say 25% to 30%, I have no quarrel. Investors have to make a profit dont they? Just get fairer terms . As for the investment we need it badly, otherwise the minerals will remain underground and no use to us.

  22. Very good article this is why I query how HH will fix it because if your rise to power comes from external sources they will want something in return failure to do so will spell trouble so let us be wise unless one has boldness and courage nothing will change.

  23. kano nga musungu or somebody with a european name who writes then you understand. when jay jay tells you the same things, you call him a racist and bitter. pali ubwafya apa

  24. Indeed Africa inganda yachipuba. We,ve been turned into petty politicians at the expense of serious issues like this one. Ba youth let’s take up this challenge and do some about it.

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