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Author Topic: Comboni Fathers warn of coming power struggle over  (Read 11126 times)
Ras_Joe
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« on: May 16, 2003, 11:39:52 AM »

NAIROBI - 1 May 2003 - 720 words

Comboni Fathers warn of coming power struggle over
African oil

 The editorial of a magazine published by the Comboni
Missionaries, warns that America is getting more and
more involved in the developing oil industry of
African countries.

 The Nairobi-based Catholic Information Service of
Africa (CISA) last night issued the following summary
of the article from the May-June issue of New People
entitled: 'Black Gold: Black is not Always Beautiful!'

 As the world's attention is fixed on the Persian
Gulf, another titanic power struggle goes on, and many
people fail to see what is happening in Africa.

 This power struggle is about the control of
strategic crude oil reserves and showing other Arab
states who the ruler of the world is.

 In September 2002, the US Navy decided to set up a
base in São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa,s smallest
country consisting of only two islands off the coast
of Gabon. The naval base has access to a landing
strip. Airplanes and boats of the American navy will
protect the many oil tankers that leave the West
African coast and head towards the USA.

 Around the same time, American President George Bush
met with eleven African Presidents; all of them from
countries where crude oil production is underway or
expected to start soon.

 Colin Powell, America,s Secretary of State, paid a
visit to Gabon and Angola, two major oil producers.

 Africa's 'black gold' attracts foreign interests,
and America is in the forefront. Most African
producers - namely Angola, Cameroon, Chad,
Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São
Tomé and Príncipe - do not belong to OPEC, the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and so
production quotas do not bind them.

 Nigeria is considering withdrawing from OPEC to
boost its production beyond the two-million-barrel
quota per day. Furthermore, these countries lie on the
Atlantic coast, far from the strategic bottleneck of
the Persian Gulf. African crude oil is essential to
the United States if they are to lessen their
dependence on oil from the Gulf.

 America is not alone in this rush towards African
oil. Chinese and Canadian companies are active in the
Sudan, fuelling the longest war of the continent.
European firms are engaged both in exploration and
extraction activities in most African countries.

 Africa is becoming the next frontier for oil
companies. Huge reserves have been discovered in the
Gulf of Guinea. The existence of some of these fields
has been known for a long time. But only today, with
the availability of deep-water drilling technology,
have these reserves become accessible.

 Oil and gas have been discovered along the African
coast from Mauritania to South Africa. Inland, the new
Chad-Cameroon pipeline will soon bring both countries
to full production. Huge reserves are to be found in
the Central African Republic. A link to the Cameroon
pipeline will make it easy to bring this oil to the
coast. The unrest that toppled former President
Patassé,s government, a war supported by Chad and
externally aided by the USA, is not unfamiliar, with
making this oil available to certain nations.

 Recently, Neil Ford, an expert in oil production,
stated: "oil puts Africa on the map." Sadly, it is
true.

 In this era of globalisation, international links,
fast exchanges, Africa remains at the edge of
modernity. It becomes the, centre of attention only
when a new basis for exploitation arises. The various
initiatives aiming at giving Africa a new start almost
always result in huge profits for foreign companies
and their local cronies.

 Oil industry is good for statistics. Suddenly,
citizens of a country with one of the poorest per
capita income become rich. But in reality, the
newfound oil does not fuel development. Equatorial
Guinea is an example. Per capita income rose from 308
US$ in 1995 to over $1,500 in 2002. In reality, the
population has seen no improvement. The people of
Equatorial Guinea remain among the poorest of the
continent.

 Oil puts Africa on the map - a map void of the lives
of millions who will never benefit from the resources
of their land.

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