Book Talk - The Looting Machine: Warlords, Oligarchs, Corporations, Smugglers and the Theft of Africa’s Wealth


Tom Burgis, Investigations Correspondent, Financial Times

in conversation with

Ian Gary, Senior Policy Manager, Extractive Industries, Oxfam America


Tuesday, April 21, 2015



Oxfam America
(Note New Office Location!)

1101 17th Street NW, Suite 1300
Washington, DC 20036

RSVP's Required: [email protected]

Book review:

“The Looting Machine” is a network of anonymous multinationals, corporate investors and bankers who strike opaque deals with coup leaders and precarious African elites that allow them to drain the continent’s natural resources in exchange for precious little — if you’re an ordinary African… This is a brave and defiant book.”  New York Times Sunday Review.

About the book:

Africa is the world’s poorest continent and, arguably, its richest. Although accounting for just 2 percent of global GDP, it is the repository of 15 percent of the planet’s crude oil reserves, 40 percent of its gold and 80 percent of its platinum. Beneath its soils lies a third of the mineral deposits found on earth. But this treasure trove has proved to be not a salvation but a curse. In The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis takes readers on a gripping and often shocking journey through the anonymous boardrooms and glittering headquarters of what amounts to a new form of financialized colonialism. Africa’s booming growth is driven by the voracious hunger for natural resources from rapidly emerging economies such as China. In the shadows, a network of traders, bankers, and corporate raiders has sprung up to grease the palms of venal local political elites. What is happening in Africa’s resource states is systematic looting. In country after country across the continent, the resource industry tears at the very fabric of society. The currencies of the trade in oil, precious stones, and ores ‎are corruption, oppression, and violence. For six years Burgis has been on a mission to expose corruption and give voice to the millions of ordinary Africans who suffer the consequences of living under this curse. His investigation throws a completely fresh light on the workings of the global economy and will make you think twice about what goes into the phone in your pocket and the tank of your car.

About the Author:

Tom Burgis has been reporting for the Financial Times for eight years, including as a correspondent in Johannesburg and Lagos, and won the FT’s 2013 Jones-Mauthner Memorial Prize for his superb exposés of corruption. He was shortlisted as a young journalist of the year for his Africa reports, and also won the Jerwood Award for a first nonfiction book in progress. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+