Africa: War is Business

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Africa: War is Business (54:00)
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The world is slowly awakening to a disturbing reality—that the diamond trade is a major source of financing for warfare and brutality in Africa. But diamonds are only one natural resource among many that feed bloody conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, and other countries. This program explores the role of international business interests in fomenting rebellion and arming renegade military forces across the African continent—often as a means of obscuring other, equally nefarious, dealings and activities. Several experts and key players are interviewed, including Daniel Chea Sr., Liberia’s Minister of National Defense; Zainab Bangura, director of Sierra Leone’s National Accountabiliy Group; Kassim Basma, a diamond exporter; and Major General Patrick Cammaert, UN Division Commander, Eastern Congo. (54 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (20)

1. Natural Resources and War in Africa (02:17)
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The African continent is rich in natural resources but its nations seem constantly at war. Money spent on products made from Africa's natural resources winds up in the pockets of warlords.

2. Daniel Chea's Role in Liberia's Civil War (03:41)

Daniel Chea worked with the notorious dictator Charles Taylor as Liberia's Minister of Defense during years of bloody civil war. Chea describes his training with the United States Navy and his role as Taylor's right hand man.

3. Financing War and Genocide in Africa (01:45)

Poverty is rampant in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, but money to fight its civil war was not in short supply. A Liberian lawyer charges that goods sold in the west from Liberian lumber, gold, and diamonds finance war and genocide in Africa.

4. Dutch Businessman's Connection to Liberia's Civil War (02:50)

A Dutch timber company is accused of smuggling weapons into a Liberian harbor to support notorious dictator Charles Taylor in Liberia's civil war. Security guards at the port describe weapons imports and being forced to fight in the war.

5. United Nations Embargoes in Liberia (02:38)

After the ceasefire in Liberia's civil war, the United Nations implemented an embargo on exports of timber and diamonds and on weapons imports. UN soldiers now monitor activities at the harbor in Monrovia.

6. Timber Exports and Liberia's Fragile Peace (01:43)

The new head of Liberia's forestry ministry hopes to resume lumber exports as soon as possible. A Liberian lawyer believes that resuming logging activities too quickly will destabilize the fragile peace now in place after years of civil war.

7. Civil War and Conflict Diamonds in Sierra Leone (03:03)

An illegal diamond trade played a crucial role in funding Sierra Leone's civil war. An official asserts that the war was fueled by the entry of international crime syndicates after the government lost control of the diamond mines.

8. Sierra Leone's Rebel Diamond Traders (02:42)

A former rebel commander, who was once actively involved in exporting conflict diamonds from Sierra Leone, asserts that rebel leaders made millions of dollars from the illegal trade. A prosecutor asserts the war itself was all about diamonds.

9. Sierra Leone's Post-War Diamond Trade: The Diamond Fields (02:09)

Men search for diamonds in the diamond fields of Sierra Leone. One worker shares how much money he gets paid for his work from the man who supports him.

10. Sierra Leone's Post-War Diamond Trade: Diamond Traders (03:09)

A diamond exporter in Sierra Leone negotiates prices with men who have brought raw diamonds to sell. He describes what is involved in exporting diamonds from Sierra Leone since the civil war ended.

11. Sierra Leone's Post-War Diamond Trade: The Certification Process (02:06)

The Director of Sierra Leone's National Diamond Certification Bureau explains how the certification process works. A diamond expert describes how he grades diamonds and an exporter explains the export process.

12. Certificates of Origin for African Diamonds (02:44)

Certificates of origin for diamonds help prevent diamonds from being used to finance wars. An official from the Diamond High Council in Antwerp explains how the system ensures accountability and promotes legitimate trade.

13. Sierra Leone Does Not Profit from Its Diamonds (01:57)

A well regulated, legitimate diamond trade in Sierra Leone could make the country rich. Unfortunately for Sierra Leone, most of the money made from its diamonds does not find its way into the country's economy.

14. War and Atrocities in Congo (03:08)

Rebel groups continue to wage war in parts of Congo, where more than three million people died in eight years. A commander of United Nations forces in Congo describes how gold and diamonds fuel the ongoing conflicts there.

15. United Nations Weapons Patrols in Congo (01:57)

United Nations troops patrol roads and villages in north eastern Congo day and night to stop the illegal trade of gold, diamonds, and weapons. Congo warlords trade gold for weapons to increase their power and influence.

16. Congo's Gold and Weapons Trade (02:01)

Villagers dig for gold at an open mine in north eastern Congo; it is well known that the gold is traded for weapons. A government official asserts that arms traffickers from all over the world exploit the situation in Congo.

17. Congo's Cobalt Resources Finance War (03:27)

Besides gold and diamonds, cobalt is a valuable natural resource in Congo. The country's cobalt mines have been used to finance years of war.

18. Western Corporations Profit from African Wars (01:46)

United Nations officials have tried to take on companies who profit from wars in Africa. Tropical woods, gold, diamonds, and cobalt imported by the west often provide wealth for warlords in several African nations.

19. Your Cell Phone Might Finance an African War (03:37)

Many of the batteries which power cell phones and computers around the world are made with cobalt from Congo. Cobalt and Congo's other natural resources have been exploited by warlords to buy weapons and fund wars.

20. Taking Responsibility for the Business of War in Africa (03:22)

Africa is a continent rich in natural resources which has fallen prey to the greed of corrupt leaders and the greed of multinational corporations. Various officials describe problems and solutions for fighting the profitable business of war in Africa.

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