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10 Jul 2017

Rasna Warah, Daily Nation (Kenya)

Multinational companies reaping from Africa's natural resources, including from illicit financial flows, while locals "benefit only marginally", says columnist

"Foreign firms’ lucrative link in Africa’s rampant poverty"

A report released about a month ago...shows that while African countries receive $161 billion in loans, aid, grants and remittances every year, the continent pays out $203 billion in debt repayments, multinational company profits, illicit financial flows, and illegal fishing, among other costs...Some more shocking statistics: African countries receive around $19 billion in grants, but over three times this amount ($68 billion or six per cent of the entire continent’s GDP) leaves Africa through illicit financial flows, mainly through multinational companies that deliberately misreport the value of their imports or exports to evade or reduce tax...

Africa is not poor. It is estimated that the untapped mineral reserves in the Democratic Republic of Congo — where the average citizen wallows in poverty and where civil conflict has raged for decades — is worth $24 trillion (yes, trillion!). In 2015, African countries exported $232 billion worth of minerals and oil to the rest of the world. Yet, about two-thirds of the continent’ people still live on less than $3 a day. Why is this so? There are two main reasons. One, when multinational companies export commodities such as minerals from Africa, these countries benefit only marginally.