For Immediate Release
Africa’s Growth Must Benefit All Its Citizens
WASHINGTON - Africa’s remarkable growth, driven in large part by a minerals and energy boom, is threatened by illicit capital outflows and widening income gaps, international agency Oxfam has warned ahead of a meeting of top business leaders at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.
Several African countries are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world , boosted by new discoveries of oil, natural gas, and strategic mineral reserves. But progress is being undermined by income inequalities and massive illicit capital outflows – often in the form of tax evasion and trade mispricing by extractive industries.
Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “Africa’s impressive growth needs to reach further. The continent’s resource boom must be harnessed to benefit all its citizens. If illicit capital continues to haemorrhage out of African countries, efforts to reduce poverty and boost economic growth will be undercut. Resource wealth should promote prosperity on the continent, not undermine inclusive economic growth, fuel corruption, or damage the environment.”
In 2010, Africa’s oil, gas and mineral exports amounted to $333 billion in 2010. But illicit financial outflows from Africa are estimated at up to $200 billion annually, dwarfing the development aid it receives.
Byanyima said: “Too often extractive industries in collusion with corrupt government officials cheat Africa of its wealth and potential for social spending. African citizens must get their true share of extractive industry revenues and royalties paid to their governments.”
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Something is Happening. People are Drawing Lines.
And We’ve Got It Covered.
But we can't do it without you. Please support our Winter Campaign.
Despite being on its way to being a pole for global growth, Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to six of the top 10 most unequal countries in terms of economic disparity. Inequality is bad for social stability, and undermines growth itself. Oxfam calculates that in South Africa, more than a million additional people will be pushed into poverty between 2010 and 2020 unless rapidly growing inequality is addressed.
Byanyima said: “Good progress is being made towards bringing down poverty on the continent, but high inequality and corruption are threatening these gains.”
Oxfam has called for multinational enterprises operating in poor countries to conduct business responsibly by informing and consulting local communities affected by oil, gas and mining projects, and giving them the opportunity to approve or reject a project prior to the commencement of operations.
“Africa is taking control of its own destiny, but to meet its real potential our leaders must stand behind those who growth is leaving behind. Proceeds from the continent’s treasures must be channelled to fighting poverty. Aid to Africa should be used to promote good governance, and supporting civil society to keep their leaders accountable. Until all Africans have the food, education and healthcare they need to be productive citizens, social and economic progress on the continent is going to be held back.”
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.