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New African oil boom
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Friday, 20 June 2003
The new African oil boom - centered on the oil-rich Atlantic waters of the Gulf of Guinea, from Nigeria to Angola - is a moment of great opportunity and great peril for countries beset by wide-scale poverty. On the one hand, revenues available for poverty reduction are huge; in a new report Catholic Relief Services (CRS) conservatively estimates that sub-Saharan African governments will receive over $200 billion in oil revenues over the next decade. On the other hand, the dramatic development failures that have characterized most other oil-dependent countries warn that petrodollars have not helped developing countries to reduce poverty; in many cases, they have actually exacerbated it. Most of Africas oil revenues are currently collected by governments lacking in transparency, accountability and fairness, the report notes. "Without improving their democratic institutions and administrative capacity, it is unlikely that African oil exporters will be able to use petrodollars to fuel poverty reductions; instead, oil monies are more likely to make matters worse for the poor," the report says.
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