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Rising China and Africa's development: oil
Rising China and Africa's development: oil

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3 The resource curse in Nigeria

You’ll now look at an extract from a paper to explore the resource curse in Nigeria.

Activity 1 The complex nature of the curse

Read through the following extracts from Annegret Mähler’s 2010 working paper ‘Nigeria: a prime example of the resource curse? Revisiting the oil-violence link in the Niger Delta’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . As you read, think about the interconnected nature of different dimensions of the curse:

  • What do you see as the main contributors to Nigeria’s oil curse? Can you rate them?
  • Are there any factors that are a blessing?
  • Do different factors also combine to compound the problem or do some help alleviate risk of the curse?
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The historic response to overcoming the resource curse has centred on institutional and structural responses. The logic runs that by putting in place good fiscal policies, sound economic strategies, promoting good governance and improving accountability and transparency, that the resource wealth can be capitalised on more effectively. Such moves are often bolstered by international initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which is a set of agreed targets aiming to set a global standard for good governance of oil and gas and mineral resources that has been signed up to by 52 countries. However, it is becoming increasingly recognised is that it takes more than just capacity-building of existing institutions or creating new ones – politics also matters.