• The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa's Wealth

  • By: Tom Burgis
  • Narrated by: Dugald Bruce Lockhart
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 26-02-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (43 ratings)


A shocking investigative journey into the way the resource trade wreaks havoc on Africa, The Looting Machine explores the dark underbelly of the global economy.
Africa: the world's poorest continent and arguably its richest. While accounting for just 2 percent of global GDP, it is home to 15 percent of the planet's crude oil, 40 percent of its gold, and 80 percent of its platinum. A third of the Earth's mineral deposits lie beneath its soil. But far from being a salvation, this buried treasure has been a curse.
The Looting Machine takes you on a gripping and shocking journey through anonymous boardrooms and glittering headquarters to expose a new form of financialized colonialism. Africa's booming growth is driven by the voracious hunger for natural resources from rapidly emerging economies such as China.
But in the shadows a network of traders, bankers, and corporate raiders has sprung up to grease the palms of venal local political elites. What is happening in Africa's resource states is systematic looting. In country after country across the continent, the resource industry is tearing at the very fabric of society. But, like its victims, the beneficiaries of this looting machine have names.
For six years Tom Burgis has been on a mission to expose corruption and give voice to the millions of Africans who suffer the consequences of living under this curse. Combining deep reporting with an action-packed narrative, he travels to the heart of Africa's resource states, meeting a warlord in Nigeria's oil-soaked Niger Delta, and crossing a warzone to reach a remote mineral mine in Eastern Congo.
The result is a blistering investigation that throws a completely fresh light on the workings of the global economy and will make you think twice about what goes into the mobile phone in your pocket and the tank of your car.
©2015 Tom Burgis (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
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Critic reviews

"An excellent book. Despite Africa's impressive economic 5% growth rate, Tom Burgis ensures that we don't stop wondering who does what in Africa and how we are all party to what Western 'investors' are up to. The postcolonial corruption and rape of African resource to the benefit of Western consumption is still alive and horribly well." (Jon Snow)
"Tom Burgis has managed to uncover a system responsible for the wholesale looting of Africa's mineral resources for the benefit of oligarchic and state interests around the world. French, Chinese, Americans, Russians, Israelis, Brits, Brazilians, not to mention small but rapacious African elites are all involved in pillaging Africa's natural resources to line their pockets with unbelievable sums. Burgis, a gifted young journalist with the Financial Times, has tracked down all these characters across some of Africa's most dangerous hotspots and beyond in Asia, Europe, and America. The reporting is vivid, eye-popping, and even at times very funny." (Misha Glenny, author of McMafia)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark H on 18-02-16


Would you listen to The Looting Machine: Warlords, Tycoons, Smugglers and the Systematic Theft of Africa's Wealth again? Why?

I have already listened to the book twice and am about to listen to it again. It is well researched, well written and well read by the narrator. It's a compelling and yet heart breaking tale of greed and corruption in Africa. sadly the corruptors them selves are mainly African.

What did you like best about this story?

Having travelled widely in West Africa, through many of the countries mentioned in the book, I cannot say that the story came as much as a surprise but it's nice to know what goes on behind closed doors in Luanda One and the like.

What does Dugald Bruce Lockhart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He's a very easy listen. Sounding more of a journalist reporting live from the scene than an actor. It works well

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was shaking my head throughout the book. It's tragic that the money is staying at "the top" whilst the desperately poor eke a living by selling anything they can at the side of the roads. The governments owe their people nothing so that's what they get.

Any additional comments?

Many Africans are poor, a minority are staggeringly rich. This book will go some way to explaining why

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By S. Phares on 27-05-17

any eye opener

i loved it...listerned from start to finish in 3 days. Most of what is covered is behind the scene deals that guarantees Africa will remain a continent for the poor mojority.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By kennedy.bahati on 25-07-17

amazing read

eye opener me being an African.it goes deep and very factual.I totally "enjoyed" it,I wilk definitely recommend it.

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