VOL. NO: 49      DATE:

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Complied by Cass Gilroy-Business Editor

Oil firms told to fight poverty in Africa

Oil companies operating in Africa must plough part of their profits into fighting poverty or risk being expelled from the continent by the unrest and turmoil fuelled by inequality, Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade has said. 

"It is indecent and immoral that oil companies should be raking in multi-billion dollar profits from higher oil prices while poor, oil-importing African states, saw their energy bills increase by tens of millions of dollars, he said. 

He told a news conference he was proposing a formula to distribute oil profits more equitably between oil companies, African oil-producing countries, and non-oil producing states on the world's poorest continent. 

President Wade, facing an energy crunch in oil-importing Senegal where summer power cuts have badly hit economic activity and home consumers, said he has already presented his plan to executives of Chevron and Exxon Mobil, which have extensive operations in sub-Saharan Africa. Communities in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger delta have already stepped up their attacks and kidnappings on foreign oil firms and their staff, as part of a campaign to try to gain more benefits from oil production. 
The President said the US oil executives had accepted his argument and were willing to see how more could be done to fight poverty in Africa, using its oil. He also said that the continent needed massive investments in big strategic infrastructure projects, such as a plan for a trans-continental railway linking Johannesburg to Dakar in Senegal on Africa's northwest coast.


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