’Let business lift Africa out of poverty’
Monday, July 31, 2006
Excerpt: Big business has something of a poor reputation when it comes to Africa.
Critics accuse multinational oil and mining companies in particular of exploiting local people, damaging the environment and helping to prop-up some of Africa’s more odious regimes.
It’s an unfair charge and one that’s all too familiar, argues the former boss of an oil giant who now heads one of the world’s biggest mining firms.
“There is in society at large a considerable mistrust of large businesses,” says Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the affable chairman of Anglo American and ex-chairman of Shell.
“The only way you can overcome that mistrust is to try and be open.”At a special gathering of business leaders ahead of last year’s historic G8 summit in Gleneagles, Sir Mark led calls for an improvement in the approach of companies – and governments – in Africa.A year on from the pledges made by the G8 to cut debt and boost aid in Africa, the view from the UK headquarters of Anglo American is that some progress is being made.