2 The resource curse thesis
While strong correlations have been drawn between natural resource wealth and poor economic growth the evidence is far from conclusive. Many scholars maintain that while developing nations with plentiful resources are more prone to disappointing economic development this is by no means an inevitable or universal outcome. Botswana is often cited as an example whereby sound economic policies and good governance of its diamond deposits have benefitted the economy (Sarraf and Jiwanji, 2001).
On the other hand, Nigeria is commonly held to epitomise the problem of the curse – despite decades of oil production and export, according to a World Poverty Clock Report (2018) Nigeria has now overtaken India as the world’s poorest country with 86.9 million people classified as living in ‘extreme poverty’ – nearly 50 per cent of the total population. There are three main ways in which the curse can play out, which will now be explored.