While reviling companies for exploiting the mineral wealth and natural resources across the planet, it now seems as if the World Bank has been encouraging just that as it encouraged the destruction of the Congo’s precious rain forest.
“It is particularly embarrassing for the British government, which is a development partner of the bank and its third largest financial contributor. It encouraged the bank to intervene in the Congo forests with export-driven industrial logging and has earmarked £50m for further Congo basin forestry aid.” Source Guardian 4/10/2007).
Considering the loud noises made about the need to support African countries on the one hand, and the desperate plight of the planet from excessive carbon emissions on the other, declarations from government reach new heights of hypocracy.
The argument for the recommendations of the Bank were that the sale of the timber would help the state recover from the destruction brought about by a ferocious civil war. Since conflict in Africa is largely the result of the nineteenth century Treaty of Berlin, Europe is not best placed to offer the solution. The other argument now being put about is that if western interests don’t take advantage of Africa’s plentiful resources, then the Chinese will. As usual Africans are on a hiding to nothing.