Gold Mafia 2: Africa is a country

The Al Jazeera Investigative Unit has released the second episode of its four-part investigation, Gold Mafia, and the scenes and characters in the undercover investigation give a troubling indication of what is possibly happening across resource-rich countries in Africa.

The situation in Zimbabwe as a country could be the tip of the iceberg of what is happening across the continent.

The individuals recorded in the undercover operations of the Investigative Unit of the global broadcaster, some of them like Uebert Angel, Kamlesh Pattni, and Rikki Doolan, are all running active churches and Pattni and Angel seem to have strong links with Ghana. Pattni was awarded the Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize by Ghana registered Millennium Excellence Foundation in 2012, while Angel who is also a senior diplomat in Zimbabwe is believed to have a ‘spiritual father’ in Ghana; a known controversial preacher.

The sights and sounds of the undercover video though an awful spectacle of the depth of official corruption in Zimbabwe can be representative of countries in Africa endowed with natural resources such as gold, diamond, lithium, bauxite and oil.

The confidence with which the characters in the undercover recordings spoke about how they can launder money with the tacit approval of the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Angel is as disconcerting as it could be.


Images of an airport security official and a courier openly stating how they can bypass airport security to move gold out of the country looks like something that can only happen in a crime movie.

Africa has a population of about 1.3 billion people and a GDP of around $3.4 trillion.

Africa is reputed to produce more than 60 metal and mineral products and is a major producer of several of the world’s most important minerals and metals. Some of the precious metals found in Africa include gold, diamond, PGE’s, silver, iron, uranium, bauxite, manganese, chromium, nickel, bauxite, cobalt and copper. Platinum, coal, and phosphates are also mined on the continent. New precious mineral like lithium is being discovered in some countries including Ghana.

Africa also has rich forests, marine and aquatic resources.

In 2010 alone, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) estimated that the top 40 mining companies operating in Africa reportedly made net profits of about $110 billion. And these companies have a net asset base which exceeds $1 trillion.

However, according to the ECA, 546 million people on Africa are still living in poverty. That figure it says is an increase of 74 per cent since 1990.

Inflation in Africa stood at 12.3 per cent in 2022, and that was much higher than the world average of 6.7 per cent.

The ECA further estimates that households in Africa spend up to 40 per cent of their income on food, and following the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises, some 310 million Africans experienced some form of food insecurity and six million faced extreme hunger in 2022.

In 2022, the government debt-to-GDP ratio in Africa was 64.5 per cent, which is significantly higher than the pre-pandemic figure for 2019 that was 57.1 per cent, according to the ECA.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi

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