An Institutional Analysis of the Resource Curse in Africa: Lessons for Ghana

King, Richard

The experience of oil producing countries in Africa has largely been a negative one, with development indicators suffering as a resource curse takes effect. This article examines the role that institutions will play in preventing Ghana from falling victim to the curse of oil following its discovery of off-shore oil in 2007. It draws upon the experiences of two other African nations with off-shore oil reserves, Angola and Gabon, to highlight the potential dangers that Ghana faces in managing its oil resources. The analysis is based around the role that oil can play in breaking down formal mechanisms for guaranteeing accountability between state and society and promoting instead discretionary forms of governance that operate along neo-patrimonial lines. The leading role that Ghana’s highly developed civil society must take in preventing this from happening is stressed. More broadly, the article seeks to understand the internal dynamics of resource management in African states, arguing that this should serve as the departure point for future interactions between resource-rich African countries and external forces. The article will conclude by emphasizing the importance of Ghana’s building upon its success as a model for democracy in Africa by also acting as a leader in resource management on the continent.

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Also Published In

Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

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Earth Institute
Published Here
November 25, 2015