Goldman Sachs’s Angolan interests

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Cobalt International Energy, a Houston based company with investments in the Angolan oil sector, for possible violation of anti-corruption legislation. Last week the Financial Times reported that three Angolan officials – the same three officials named in muckraking journalist Rafael Marques’s case now waiting before Angola’s Supreme Court – “confirmed to the FT (…) that they and another general have held shares in Nazaki Oil and Gáz, the local partner in a Cobalt-led deepwater venture launched in early 2010.” The Financial Times is no slouch of a newspaper. When they commit an entire article to topics Angolan it nearly fills my Google news alert for a week.

The Angolan press, both official and independent, has been largely silent. The website Club-K (their slogan is “We Report, You Decide”) posted an article from the Portuguese press and the usually lively comments section had nothing beyond the predictable: “band of thieves”; “now maybe Marques’s case will get somewhere”; and “if the Americans really wanted to catch them they could…this is one more distraction.” What’s really going on here? The FT cares because one of Cobalt’s backers is Goldman Sachs. Angola matters little to them. Angola matters only insofar as it rattles Wall Street. Life there matters only insofar as it touches on life, or rather, the bottom line, the U.S.

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Marissa Moorman

Marissa Moorman is a historian of southern Africa and on the editorial committee of Africa is a Country. She is the author of 'Intonations: a Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, 1945-Recent Times.' (2008).

1 Comment
  1. The west is a long way behind the curve on Angola and Africa in general.

    Some might say for years the west has been getting resources by causing internal strife meaning they only had to pay the ones with the biggest guns. With the emergnece of China these countries now have an alterntive to getting investement that does not involve violence.

    Competition from China for African resources could lead to less corruption and more peace if the free market is allowed to function.

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