IS Academy lecture: New oil producers in Africa and the challenges of governance. The case of Ghana

Seminar date: 
08 June 2009
Speaker(s): Ian Gary, Senior Policy Advisor Oxfam America

Discussant: Lucia van Geuns (Energieprogramma, Clingendael)

More information on Ian Gary

For Ghana, one of the most peaceful and relatively prosperous countries in West Africa, the start of oil production in late 2010 would seem to come as good news. With a peaceful transition of power in 2009, Ghana hopes that oil revenues will help accelerate the country's effort to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. But, as so many other countries have shown, it is a difficult and tortuous journey to move from the generation of oil wealth to its proper investment. In too many other countries, oil booms have bred corruption, underdevelopment, social conflict, and environmental damage.

The onset of oil production presents Ghana with its next great test. Ghana has an enviable record of good governance and stability. Despite this progress, Ghana is still a poor country of 23 million people dependent largely on primary commodity exports -- cocoa, gold, timber. Almost 80 percent of Ghanaians live on less than $2 a day. The country has made some progress on economic diversification, but oil could add to the economy's over reliance on commodity exports subject to price swings that make development planning difficult.

Billions of dollars will flow into the government treasury, but Ghanaians are all too familiar with corruption, poor development outcomes in the country's mining communities, and the tragedy of Nigeria's squandered oil wealth. By 2011, estimates are that Ghana will be producing approximately 120,000 barrels of oil per day, along with significant quantities of gas. The International Monetary Fund has predicted that government revenues from oil and gas could reach a cumulative US$20 billion over the production period of 2012-30 for the Jubilee field alone.

Oil wealth tends to erode democratic accountability. Ghana's challenge will be to ensure that the right institutions and transparent policies are in place before oil production starts. This presentation will summarize key findings and recommendations of the Oxfam America report Ghana's Big Test: Oil's Challenge to Democratic Development.

As of 12:00 lunch will be offered. The lecture starts at 12:30.
Language: English

Registration: 7 June at the latest at:

Registration is obligatory. If you have registered but are unable to attend please inform us as soon as possible.