Reuters ran a story several months ago on the key political risks of doing business in the Gulf of Guinea.
I posted the article then. The article has been updated and I’m putting it up once again. As I said when I originally posted this article, most coverage of the extractive industries (and cocoa, in the case of this article) is in the business pages and basically boils down to dollars and cents. What are the rewards, what are the risks?
The human side of the story is only of interest insofar as it impacts business and the investment climate. Ditto for the environment. What’s noteworthy here is that there is absolutely no mention of the the environmental risk of rapidly expanding drilling and mining. Kind of crazy when you consider that environmental mayhem will certainly lead to social unrest. Even from an investment perspective, one might think (wish?) that environmental concerns would be part of the risk assessment.
But rising rates of piracy, drug smuggling, and political uncertainty in an area ravaged by civil wars and coups have made it a challenging destination for investors seeking to benefit from the massive resources.
The Gulf of Guinea runs from Guinea on Africa’s northwestern tip to Angola in the south and includes Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon.
Here’s some information from Thomson Reuters via the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development:
Thomson Reuters Holding Journalism Workshops in Africa on Tracking Illicit Money
November 4, 2010
By Clark Gascoigne
The Thomson Reuters Foundation is partnering with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) to hold workshops for journalists in African countries to improve their expertise in financial journalism (Full Disclosure: Norad is also a major financial supporter of the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development). The sessions will have a specific focus on how to track illicit financial flows out of the developing world.
From Thomson Reuters:
About 100 journalists, spread over eight courses in different African locations in the course of the next year, will receive intensive training to hone their financial reporting and analytical skills.
It is the first time the Thomson Reuters Foundation has teamed up directly with a national development aid agency to deliver this kind of training, although it has previously worked with multilateral organisations and local partners to run courses aimed at strengthening financial journalism in Africa.
The article continues:
A special angle in this new series of workshops is the issue of money being illicitly siphoned out of poor countries, often into tax havens. By its nature this is a highly sensitive topic, and a challenge for journalists to uncover.