Governing African extractives for development: lessons from Ghana's petroleum revenue management law
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Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and, to an extent, Kenya are Africa's new kids on the 'Big Oil' block. They have each recently discovered significant oil, gas or mineral reserves. These countries are important for re-setting Africa's new narrative in resource exploration and exploitation, because their policy and legal frameworks have just been formulated or are still being developed. This gives these countries a chance to develop better systems and institutions, taking into account 'resource curse' lessons and best practice gleaned from their forerunners who did not perform so well in governance or economic development. Ghana introduced the Petroleum Revenue Management Act in 2011. This was driven by policy aimed at using Ghana's new hydrocarbon wealth to achieve viable socioeconomic development. The law and its supporting frameworks remain strong counterweights to the resource curse paradigm experienced by other African and international resource-endowed countries. But the success of these counterweights is dependent on commodity prices, prudent budgeting, good fiscal regimes and implementation. It is also dependent on wise revision of the resource governance framework in line with Ghana's continuously changing needs, including the adoption of adequate supporting regulations and statutes. Whilst the policy and its associated frameworks are laudable, hurdles remain in implementing, institutionalising and overseeing them. Cooperation between public, private and civil society stakeholders will be a strong pillar in ensuring the success of the framework.