In Angola, for example, the British government has failed to criticise the lack of transparency and accountability of – and the human rights abuses perpetrated by – the regime of President Dos Santos because of the major oil interest of BP (formerly British Petroleum). Angola’s dreadful human rights record and the extreme level of embezzlement of funds by the ruling elite should be enough to elicit some harsh rebukes from the British government – Zimbabwe has been regularly taken to task for far less. However, the British government is clearly unwilling to jeopardise its relationship with the closed and repressive oil-rich country in order to allow its companies to continue to operate there.
It seems that Europe in general – and Britain in particular – have been taken in by Angola’s soaring, double-digit economic growth rate over the past decade, and have never seen fit to ask the key question – economic growth for whom? It seems for Britain that – when it comes to Africa and protecting its interests – wealth creation is far more important than wealth distribution. GDP growth is the be all and end all – regardless of whether it leads to any reduction in inequality or any real, sustainable socio-economic development.