Gold, Sand And Jet Fuel

Scale Matters.
One million square miles of Sahara vs. A squadron of Dassault Rafales

Bamako, Mali.
For a city of almost 2 million people, Mali's capital doesn't offer much of a skyline. Apart from a single, imposing brownish concrete-clad edifice, not a single secular structure competes with the minarets.

The picture made me wonder: Who owns that tower? The ministry of security?

I should have known better. It is the BCEAO Tower, and it belongs to none other than Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (France's banking arm for its NorthWest African possessions).
As with La Cote D'Ivoire only 18 months ago, I wonder how many loans for Malian roads, mines, railroads and bridges sit on the books of BNP Paribas and Societe Generale. At some point, the EROEI (energy-returned-on-energy-invested) in France's West African colonies will turn negative. Paris will certainly burn up plenty of pricey jet fuel attempting to patrol roughly 1 million square miles of Sahara. That's quite a steep input cost. I wonder: What are the true outputs here (For Paris, of course, not the Malian people)? Justice for the victims of medieval law doesn't pay for jet fuel. I suspect the fruits of the labor are shiny and gold-colored.

Then again, since the oil for the jet fuel probably flows from Gabon and Cameroon (France's Central African possessions), with financing provided by BEAC, better known as Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale (France's banking arm in central Africa), perhaps the whole package is one virtuous circle.

Colonialism in all its permutations will always be with us.  It's the moralistic sophistry about justice and constitutional order that makes me laugh and grimace at the same time.  Follow the money.  Let's not forget about the yellow metal.

(from wikipedia):
"In 1991, following the lead of the International Development Association, Mali relaxed the enforcement of mining codes which led to greater foreign investment in the mining industry.[4] From 1994 to 2007, national and foreign companies were granted around 150 operating licences along with more than 25 certificates for exploitation and more than 200 research permits. Gold mining in Mali has increased dramatically, with more than 50 tonnes in 2007 from less than half a tonne produced annually at the end of the 1980s."

KingsleyMartin KingsleyMartin
31-35, M
Jan 15, 2013