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20.03.2019 Feature Article

The Iron Grip Of Colonial Masters On Africa

An oil refinery company in NigeriaAn oil refinery company in Nigeria

Although, colonialism has come to an end in Africa, don’t be deceived, the former colonial powers activities and capabilities on the continent are very limited. They do not intend to give up their positions at key points for their national interests.

Most indicative is France, whose energy, tied up at nuclear power plants, to a large extent depends on the uninterrupted supply of African uranium. Its largest exporter is the West African country Niger, in which the firms controlled by Areva, the state corporation and the leader of the nuclear industry in France, are the operators of the main uranium deposits in the country.

It worth to note that the French operation Serval in 2013, against the rebels in the North of Mali and on the border with Niger of the Tuareg and radical Islamist groups, and the active bonding together by the United States of the Sahel group of five (Burkina Faso.

At the same time, Areva's activities in Africa, have repeatedly attracted the fire of criticism. After numerous delays, the company agreed to pay compensation for the radioactive contamination and treatment of uranium mining employees in Gabon, where the mines closed in the early 2000s.

In 2016, after the publication of confidential documents on the WikiLeaks website, a scandal involving uranium mining in the Central African Republic (CAR), produced by the French in 2007-2012, broke out.

According to released data, Areva with the purchase of the Canadian company UraMin, which led to the extraction of uranium in the Central African Republic until 2007, misled shareholders about its reserves in the country. In fact, the company turned out to be unprofitable, withdrawing from the local market and did not fulfill its obligations to local workers under labor contracts.

Almost in all countries in Africa, where exploration or extraction of hydrocarbons is being conducted to varying degrees, the French company Total operates. The geography of its activities covers both those countries where oil production has been conducted for a long time.

For example, in Nigeria, Angola, and those where the corresponding resources were discovered relatively recently, in East Africa, these are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania; in the West - Guinea, and Mauritania.

Deeply rooted in the African countries, oil and mining mastodons are from The UK. According to 2016 data, the potential cost of all African mineral resources, controlled by UK companies was 1.06 trillion dollars. Including 6.6 billion barrels of oil and 79.5 million ounces of gold.

Mining giants, Anglo-Swiss Glencore, and Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto are active in the copper belt of Zambia and DR Congo, mining various metals in Western Sahara, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Madagascar.

The British-Dutch Shell owns oil rigs and oil refineries in Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, and South Africa, while BP gained control of nine oil exploration blocks in Angola and is preparing to enter the Nigerian market.

At the same time, the Anglo-Irish Tullow Oil achieved the most resonant results. In 2007–2010, it prepared and launched oil production at the most promising African Jubilee field in Ghana, discovered large oil reserves in Uganda, Lake Albert, 2006, and Kenya, Lake Turkana, 2012.

In Uganda, however, after numerous bureaucratic obstacles, legal disputes with the Chinese, as well as ambiguities with transportation, production will start no earlier than 2020 and no longer Tullow Oil, but bought three of its assets in French Total Company.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium., Author column: JoelSavage

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