Ghana's Oil

a test to see if the resource curse can be avoided

Posts Tagged ‘institutions

Oxfam: Develop institutions before developing oil

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Back in February 2009, Oxfam and ISODEC (Integrated Social Development Centre) together released the first major report outlining a basic approach to avoid the resource curse: slow down oil development until Ghana’s institutions can catch up. Their recommendations focus on a few major principles:

  • Transparency: disclose development plans, contracts and licenses, revenue; set up auditing procedures; reject confidentiality agreements
  • Negotiation: moratorium on new exploration licensing; open, competitive bidding; involve more than one agency; build government familiarity with oil industry operations and terms
  • Management: create a single fund for revenues, establish rules and accounting controls; integrate with national budget; prohibit oil-backed loans; put under parliamentary oversight
  • Mediation: inform fishing communities, create participatory process for affected communities; set up compensation scheme for loss of use of seas

Given the continual projections that drilling is to begin in mid-2010, it’s unclear whether the Ghanaian government will have sufficient time to develop the competency, capacity and structures necessary for dealing with Jubilee field oil projects in a way that avoids the resource curse. I’d be curious to hear if there’s a one-year follow-up being prepared–what progress has been made?

It seems that the most powerful thing outsiders can do is 1) push for transparency and 2) build competency among Ghanaian civil society. In a Q&A conducted with the authors of the report, skill-sharing among journalists was suggested several times; apparently, the NGO Publish What You Pay is reportedly doing this.

Between reports of Nigerian militants contacting Ghanaian fishing communities and Nigerian journalists sharing knowledge with Ghanaian journalists, it seems that the cross-national ties between these two countries is about to get a lot thicker…

Written by jasonized

5 December 2009 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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