The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa's Wealth

By Tom Burgis

A surprising investigative trip into the best way the source exchange wreaks havoc on Africa, ‘The Looting Machine’ explores the darkish underbelly of the worldwide economy.

Africa: the world’s poorest continent and, arguably, its richest. whereas accounting for simply 2 percentage of world GDP, it really is domestic to fifteen consistent with cent of the planet’s crude oil, forty according to cent of its gold and eighty consistent with cent of its platinum. a 3rd of the earth’s mineral deposits lie underneath its soil. yet faraway from being a salvation, this buried treasure has been a curse.

‘The Looting Machine’ takes you on a gripping and stunning trip via nameless boardrooms and glittering headquarters to reveal a brand new kind of financialized colonialism. Africa’s booming development is pushed by means of the voracious starvation for average assets from swiftly rising economics equivalent to China. yet within the shadows a community of investors, bankers and company raiders has sprung as much as grease the arms of venal neighborhood political elites. what's occurring in Africa’s source states is systematic looting. In kingdom after nation around the continent, the source is tearing on the very textile of society. yet, like its sufferers, the beneficiaries of this looting desktop have names.

For six years Tom Burgis has been on a undertaking to reveal corruption and provides voice to the hundreds of thousands of Africans that suffer the implications of residing lower than this curse. Combining deep reporting with an action-packed narrative, he travels to the center of Africa’s source states, assembly a warlord in Nigeria’s oil-soaked Niger Delta and crossing a warzone to arrive a distant mineral mine in japanese Congo. the result's a blistering research that throws a totally clean gentle at the workings of the worldwide financial system and should make you think that two times approximately what is going into the cellphone on your pocket and the tank of your motor vehicle.

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Whether they can get the factories working back, chinese language contraband had so completely captured the industry that it might be very unlikely for the Nigerian operations to compete. And there has been anything that had speeded up the mill arms’ consignment to the trash can of globalization. Shuffling their toes and searching warily round for someone who may be eavesdropping, the boys murmured a unmarried observe: ‘Mangal. ’ Alhaji Dahiru Mangal is a businessman whose fortune is assumed to run to billions, a confidant of presidents, a religious Muslim, and a philanthropist whose airline transports Nigerian pilgrims to the once a year hajj in Mecca. He additionally ranks between west Africa’s pre-eminent smugglers. becoming up in Katsina, the final outpost sooner than Nigeria’s frontier with Niger, Mangal acquired little formal schooling. extra cosmopolitan Nigerian businessmen converse of him with a mix of snobbery, envy and worry. He acquired his begin as within the Eighties, following his father into the import-export company, and he speedily made the cross-border freight routes his personal. 7 ‘He is shrewd,’ a northern chief who understands him instructed me. ‘He understands the way to earn cash. ’ within the shadier corners of the workshop of the area Mangal stumbled on the appropriate company companions. ‘The chinese language attacked on the center of the undefined: the wax-print and African-print segment,’ a expert who has spent years investigating – and attempting to opposite – the sluggish loss of life of Nigerian textiles defined to me. through the Nineteen Nineties chinese language factories begun copying west African designs and beginning their very own distribution branches within the quarter. ‘This is 100% illicit – however the locals do the smuggling,’ the advisor went on. There are, he acknowledged, 16 factories in China devoted to churning out textiles with a ‘Made in Nigeria’ badge sewn into them. For a time the chinese language fabric used to be of a far decrease caliber than Nigerian originals, yet that hole narrowed as chinese language criteria rose. The chinese language started to take keep an eye on of the marketplace, in league with Nigerian proprietors. Mangal acts because the facilitator, the conduit among producer and distributor, coping with a shadow economic climate that comes with the border gurus and his political allies. Like many others who make the most of the source curse, he plies the hidden byways of the globalized economic climate. Mangal’s community of warehouses and brokers stretches to Dubai, the Gulf emirate the place a lot clandestine African company is finished, and past into China and India. ‘You placed it in his warehouse, and he'll smuggle,’ a best northern banker advised me. ‘He controls the import of every thing that calls for accountability or is contraband. ’ From his base in Katsina Mangal arranges the import of nutrition, gasoline, and whatever his filthy rich Nigerian consumers may possibly wish. however the staple of his operation is the textiles that experience helped kill off the neighborhood undefined. he's stated to cost a flat rate of two million naira (about $13,000) according to shipment, plus the price of items. eight In 2008 Mangal used to be predicted to be bringing a couple of hundred 40-foot transport bins around the frontier every month.

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