Angola: 'A Crude Awakening'

Washington - How Angolan State corruption and the lack of oil company and banking transparency has contributed to Angola's humanitarian and development catastrophe.
Global Witness (1) today launched a campaign to expose the role of multinational corporations for the harmful way in which they operate in countries that are in, or emerging from conflict. Focusing on Angola, the report: 'A Crude Awakening-The Role of the Oil and Banking Industries in Angola's Civil War and the Plunder of State Assets', details the full extent of how Angola's long suffering population are being systematically abused in favour of corporate profits and personal gain.

"As Angola is set for a massive US$18billion in oil company investment over the next four years, the starving and war-torn population will see little if no benefit from these vast investments in terms of the most basic human needs," said Simon Taylor of Global Witness. "Instead vast sums are being siphoned off by Angola's key players, who we have named "the Oiligarchy".

This combination of massive corruption, together with the lack of corporate transparency and accountability by oil multinationals such as France's Elf Acquitaine, the UK's BP-Amoco and the US's Chevron and Exxon/Mobil, whilst the country relies on international humanitarian assistance, coupled with murky multimillion dollar loans from private banking and investment firms, has ensured that Angola has remained at the lowest rungs of humanitarian development(2), as we approach the dawning of the new millennium. Global Witness' report exposes the activities of key individuals such as President dos Santos, Elisio Figueiredo, Fernando Miala, General 'Kopelipa', General Jose Maria, Jose Leitao, Desiderio Costa, and the underhand business activities of Pierre Falcone and Antonio 'Mosquito' Mbkassi. Global Witness is challenging the Angolan Government to clarify the exact role of these individuals, especially with regard to flows of Angolan State revenue.

"The oil multinationals and international financial institutions need to urgently adopt a policy of full transparency and accountability, thus supporting IMF attempts to forge transparency and accountability for Angolan Government revenue and expenditure, " said Alex Yearsley of Global Witness "It is time to test the rhetoric of the oil multinationals regarding their much publicised claims to corporate transparency and social responsibility. They must realise that if they fail to do more, they could be seen as complicit in the further suffering of Angola's people."

[1] Global Witness is a British based non-governmental organisation which focuses on the links between environmental and human rights abuses, especially the impacts of natural resource exploitation upon countries and their people. Using pioneering investigative techniques, Global Witness compiles information and evidence to be used in lobbying and to raise awareness. Global Witness' information is used to brief governments, inter-governmental organisations, NGOs and the media. Global Witness has no political affiliation.

[2] Angola has slipped to position 160 out of 174 countries in the UN's HDI index, according to key social indicators.

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