Western Nations Seek African Resources but not Migrants

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

“Unchecked exploitation” of Africa’s natural resources by corporations from outside countries has “forced desperate choices” on the citizens of African nations, Yasin Kakande reported for Truthout. In particular, Kakande described the challenges that confront African migrants to nations that benefit from the extraction of natural resources from Africa. These migrants, Kakande wrote, are often seen as “nuisances” by white citizens in Western nations, or as “burdens” that “threaten” the nation’s economic wellbeing.

Africa is simultaneously one of the world’s wealthiest, yet poorest continents. As Tom Burgis wrote in The Looting Machine (2015), “a third of the planet’s deposits are in Africa—including 40 percent of the world’s gold and 80 percent of its platinum.” As Kakande reported, the continent’s natural and mineral resources are “targets of predatory wealth where no costs are incurred for unfettered exploitation.” Western exploitation of African resources occurs at “the expense of their own citizens” who need and would benefit the most from the resources of their homelands. According to an analysis by Global Justice Now and the Jubilee Debt Campaign, as reported by the Guardian in May 2017, more streams of wealth-building revenue leave Africa every year going to former colonialist countries than revenue streams coming into the continent.

In September 2017, President Donald Trump congratulated a group of African leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on their continent’s “tremendous business potential.” But in January 2018, he included African nations among the “shithole countries” whose immigrants

the United States ought to keep out. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked in an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers proposing a bipartisan immigration deal.

Kakande’s report concluded, “If European countries and the US insist upon blocking African migrants from entering their borders, then perhaps they also should block African resources from entering their countries as well. Then, maybe African migrants will finally be able to reap their own economic benefits from the resources of their homelands.”


Source: Yasin Kakande, “Only African Resources, Not Migrants, are Welcomed into Western Countries,” Truthout, August 26, 2018, https://truthout.org/articles/only-african-resources-not-migrants-are-welcome-in-western-countries/.

Student Researcher: Victoria Campellone (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Soo Yeon Yoon (Sonoma State University)