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the-looting-machineThe trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa's new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline.

 

 

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from teleSUR..May 24, 2015 “The most important achievement of this government has been the decrease in poverty and inequality,” said President Correa. In his annual address to the nation Sunday, President Rafael Correa lauded the achievements and advances for workers during the previous year's administration despite the massive drop in oil prices. In response to the fall in the international price of oil – an important source of income for Ecuador – the government implemented measures to
from BBC News..By Vanessa BuschschluterBBC News, La Union, PanamaMay 24, 2015 "Peace is not a bad thing, but it's unlikely to solve our problems," says Director of Panama's Border Police, Frank Abrego. He is referring to the prospect of a peace deal between the Colombian government and left-wing rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). Most of Panama's security problems originate south of its border, in Colombia. Colombia is one of the world's top three
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from BBC News..May 24, 2015 Ethiopians are voting for a new parliament in the first election since the death of long-serving Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012. The current parliament has only one opposition MP - and Mr Zenawi's successor Hailemariam Desalegn is expected to hold on to power. The opposition and human rights groups have accused the governing party of intimidation - a criticism it rejects. Observers from the African Union are monitoring the poll. Voting
from The EastAfrican..By BERNARD BUSUULWAMay 23, 2015 Improved tax revenues and stronger financial controls helped reduce Uganda’s domestic arrears during the first six months of 2014/15, with analysts optimistic about further declines as tax collections edge closer to official targets. Total domestic arrears fell by 9.6 per cent to Ush526 billion ($172.8 million) at the end of December 2014 compared with Ush582 billion ($191 million) recorded in June 2014, the latest IMF data shows. This translates into a
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from allafrica.com..Source: IPSBy Jeffrey MoyoMay 22, 2015 Harare — Nompumelelo Tshabalala, 41, emerges from her dwarf 'shack' made up of rusty metal sheets and falls short of bumping into this reporter as she bends down to avoid knocking her head against the top part of her makeshift door frame. "This has been my home for the past 16 years and I have lived here with my husband until his death in 2008 and now with my four
from ArabianBusiness.com..By ReutersMay 23, 2015 Saudi Arabia's rapid transition into one of the world's largest oil refiners adds an extra dimension to the oil exporter's role as the driver of OPEC policy. When it attends OPEC's next meeting in two weeks, it does so with major new state-of-the-art oil refineries that can profit from cheaper crude and reviving world fuel demand - exactly as international oil firms have over the past six months. The kingdom now has
from ArabianBusiness.com..May 23, 2015 Jordan has confirmed well over $10bn of investment in a series of deals struck during the World Economic Forum. The investment, which came mainly within the energy sector, should boost the economy of a country that imports 97 percent of its energy needs, and which is struggling to cope with an estimated refugee population of around two million. The two largest deals were a $1.5bn deal with Chinese firm Hanergy to build a

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from BBC Magazine..By Julian Siddle and Vibeke VenemaBBC World ServiceMay 23, 2015 Photo: Jenny Williams/RBG Kew Two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day and 25 million families rely on growing coffee for a living. Over the past 15 years, consumption of the drink has risen by 43% - but researchers are warning that the world's most popular coffee, Arabica, is under threat. Although there are 124 known species of coffee, most of
from The Daily Star (Lebanon)..By Rami G. KhouriMay 23, 2015 COMMENTARY When Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced in late March after an Arab summit at Sharm al-Sheikh that leaders had agreed to create a “joint Arab military force” to respond to security threats in the region, the idea was greeted with skepticism across much of the Arab world. Now, after the chiefs of staff of the Arab armed forces met in Egypt to discuss the matter further without announcing the
from The Daily Star (Lebanon)..May 23, 2015 BEIRUT: A leading Lebanese banker Friday called on Lebanese businesses abroad to invest 5 percent of their profits in Lebanon’s private sector to stimulate the economy. “I call on the Lebanese diaspora to invest 5 percent of the net income they are making in the private sector in Lebanon and turn the country into a hub for the manufacturing of computer chips and software programs which will [be realized] at a very