NFL’s Anquan Boldin lends star power to transparency hearing

Boldin playing rugby in Africa. Photo credit: Audra Melton/Oxfam America

Anquan Boldin, the new wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, had a different kind of workout yesterday. The 6’1”, 220–lb. NFL star was on Capitol Hill as an ambassador for Oxfam America.

Boldin testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights on behalf of citizens in resource-rich countries who are not getting a fair deal for the exploitation of their country’s resources.

As part of yesterday’s hearing about Africa’s resource curse – the paradox that countries with vast natural resource are unable to translate the value into increased development outcomes – Boldin told the committee about an experience from his off-season trip to Sabodala, a village in Eastern Senegal, with fellow NFL stars Roddy White and Larry Fitzgerald.

In Sabodala, unfair deals are leaving families with two bad choices – either move to new land far away from their home to make way for mining companies, or accept a small cash buy-out that is insufficient to sustain them.

Boldin said, “As a professional athlete, I believe strongly in fair play”, and called on Congress to help make oil, gas and mining deals more transparent in order to ensure that citizens in resource-rich countries are getting a fair deal for their country’s resources.

This fight for transparency in oil, gas and mining is critical to helping ensure that the money governments receive for natural resources is used to improve development and provide a pathway out of poverty. Find out more about how the US is leading this effort here