Governing Africa's Natural Resources: The Resource Curse Revisited

The workshop was organised to discuss the  preliminary result of the research  being undertaken by Professor Rod Alance and Professor Gilbert Kadjagara  both from the University of Witwatersrand , Department of International Relations. Gilbert's research is on Global and Regional Dimensions of Resource Governance in Africa. The workshop took place in OSISA office in Johannesburg on Friday June 21

Many African countries possess abundant oil and minerals. While this may seem like a blessing, the influential “resource curse” hypothesis holds that natural resource abundance hinders political and economic development. Resource-rich countries are said to be more prone to negative outcomes ranging from slow economic growth, underinvestment in human capital, and envi-ronmental degradation to corruption, authoritarian rule, and violent conflict.

In the midst of a protracted boom of global oil and mineral prices, which is encouraging greater resource extraction in Africa, the prospect of a resource curse is of particular concern for the region.  Early research on the resource curse tended to posit direct effects of natural resource on negative economic and political outcomes, but more recent studies  have focused on the importance of governance in determining whether natural resources are a blessing or a curse.

That is, the impact of natural resources on development is now seen to depend heavily on how and how well those resources are governed. This seminar will survey the scholarly literature on natural resources and development, with a thematic focus on issues of governance and a geographical focus sub-Saharan Africa. It will take stock of the state of current knowledge and to define an agenda for further research relevant to Africa’s development challenges.